Intelletes Battle for Science Olympiad Title

By Thomas Guengerich

SOCORRO, N.M., Feb. 11, 2009 – More than 750 student “intelletes” representing 25 middle schools and 24 high schools from every corner the state will test their scientific knowledge — as well as their motor skills — in 46 spirited academic contests at the 23rd Annual New Mexico Science Olympiad, which will be Saturday, Feb. 21, on the New Mexico Tech campus.

Science Olympians bring their dreams of winning gold, silver and bronze as they fly model planes, build bridges and robots, examine fossils and decipher DNA in a quest for Olympic-style medals.

Tony Ortiz, the state director of the Science Olympiad, said the 2009 event promises to be a challenging and intense day for the competitors and their coaches.

“The Science Olympiad brings together the brightest youngsters in the state for a unique event,” Ortiz said. “It’s an academic event, but it’s still a competition. These kids will feel the pressure to perform their best. It’s like a Battle of the Brains.”

Albuquerque Academy is the six-time defending champion in the high school division, and also won the middle school last year.

Socorro High School was the last school to beat Academy, taking the state title in 2001 and 2002. The home team, along with perennially strong teams La Cueva, Sandia, Roswell and Albuquerque Home Schoolers, will try to dethrone the powerful champions.

“Everyone will be trying to knock off the champs,” Ortiz said. “Science Olympiad is a good natured competition and all the students show great sportsmanship. But everyone is still trying to knock off Academy. They come to New Mexico Tech expecting to win and everyone else is trying to knock them off.”

The winning teams in both the middle school and high school levels will represent New Mexico at the 2009 National Science Olympiad in May in Augusta, Ga.

Each team can have up to 15 members, with two “intelletes” competing in most competitions. The winning team earns 20 points; second-place earns 19 and the 20th place team gets 1 point. The team with the most points takes home the state title and a trip to the national competition.

Ortiz said the event allows academically gifted students to excel, earn recognition and explore different potential career paths.

“This event promises to be a full day of fun and excitement for these students,” he said. “These competitors are the brightest young people in New Mexico. They’re here to compete and win, but we’ll make sure they enjoy themselves too.”

All the competitors are invited to a special dinner and reception on Friday night at the new Fidel Building. They’ll then be treated to the movie Contact (partially filmed near Socorro), billiards and video games. After the event Saturday, the students are invited to an awards assembly.

New Mexico Tech professors and students serve as event coordinators and help inspire students to pursue their education and careers in science, engineering and technology.

“Our faculty can relate to these students and these events,” Ortiz said. “Science Olympiad prepares students by teaching them how to work in teams, which is an important skill for college and beyond.”

Science Olympiad is a nationwide program that uses tournament competition as a means to challenge and motivate science students in their academic pursuits. The competition requires teamwork, cooperation, planning, and months of practice, providing students with a working knowledge of facts, concepts, and processes, as well as helping them develop thinking skills through practical applications of science and engineering.

The schools competing at the State Science Olympiad at New Mexico Tech:


Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque
Albuquerque Area Home Schoolers, Albuquerque
Cibola High School, Albuquerque
La Cueva High School, Albuquerque
Sandia High School, Albuquerque
West Mesa High School, Albuquerque
Laguna Acoma High School, Casa Blanca
Clayton High School, Clayton
Cloudcroft High School, Cloudcroft
Deming High School, Deming
Farmington High School, Farmington
Piedra Vista High School, Farmington
Hatch Valley High School, Hatch
Hobbs High School, Hobbs
Los Lunas High School, Los Lunas
Lovington High School, Lovington
United World College USA, Montezuma
Mountainair High School, Mountainair
Rio Rancho High School, Rio Rancho
Gateway Christian School, Roswell
New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell
Ruidoso High School, Ruidoso
Socorro High School, Socorro
Hot Springs High School, T or C



Albuquerque Area Home Schoolers, Albuquerque
Annunciation Middle School, Albuquerque
Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque
Hoover Middle School, Albuquerque
Madison Middle School, Albuquerque
Wilson Middle School, Albuquerque
Roswell Homeschoolers, Artesia
CC Snell Middle School, Bayard
Cloudcroft Middle School, Cloudcroft
Red Mountain Middle School, Deming
Mesa View Middle School, Farmington
Hatch Valley Middle School, Hatch
Highland Junior High School, Hobbs
Kirtland Middle School, Kirtland
Los Lunas Middle School, Los Lunas
Cottonwood Classical Prep. School, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque
Lovington-Sixth Grade Academy, Lovington
Taylor Middle School, Lovington
Mountainair Middle School, Mountainair
Sidney Gutierrez Middle School, Roswell
Capshaw Middle School, Santa Fe
La Plata Middle School, Silver City
Cottonwood Valley Charter School, Socorro
Sarracino Middle School, Socorro
T or C Middle School, T or C


– NMT –