Booth clinches top four finish at National Science Competition


J.C. Booth Middle’s Science Olympiad team finished fourth in the nation at the National Science Olympiad competition held this past Saturday at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Nationally revered as a tough competitor, the team has placed in the top 6 at the national competition for 12 years and has five first place victories to its name. Sixty 15-member teams from schools across the nation competed in the 26th annual event. There were 46 competition categories spanning the sciences from chemistry, biology and physics to engineering, robotics and astronomy.

The 22-member team consisting of five freshmen from McIntosh High, and five 8th graders, ten 7th graders, and two sixth graders from Booth earned five awards in event competitions. The awards and team members who earned them are as follows: first place in the Wright Stuff (model airplane flight) by Claire Worley, 9th grade McIntosh, and Dallin Murphy, 8th grade Booth; second place in Experimental Design by Andrew Perry, 9th grade McIntosh, Joey Buehler, 8th grade Booth, and Larkin Morris, 7th grade Booth; second place in Battery Buggie by Andrew Perry, 9th grade McIntosh and Michael Sweet, 9th grade McIntosh; second place Dynamic Planet by Jacob Wilson, 8th grade Booth, and Ryan Anderson, 7th grade Booth; and fourth place in Road Scholar (map reading) by Nick Chang, 9th grade McIntosh, and Joey Buehler, 8th grade Booth.

This year marked Booth’s 17th trip to the national competition. In order to get an invitation, a team must place first or second at the state competition. The Booth team won the state championship this year as it has done every year since 1999.

This also marked the first year that Tammy Pakulski served as the team’s official coach. Long-time science teacher Mary Wilde previously coached the team. She retired from teaching last year, but has remained involved with the team along with a number of other teachers and parents who also served as coaches.