The news site of Wantagh High School.

The Warrior

The news site of Wantagh High School.

The Warrior

The news site of Wantagh High School.

The Warrior


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We’re Going to States – Science Olympiad Places 7th


Wantagh High School’s Science Olympiad team competed in the Science Olympiad Western Long Island Regional Competition at Kellenberg Memorial High School, on February 2nd. Science Olympiad is a competition testing students’ knowledge and passion for the sciences.

After a long morning of events, Team A came in 9th out of 74 teams, and Wantagh came in 7th as a school, qualifying it for States. Captains Jake Kaplan, Jonathan Schifman, Jill Rodesk, Hailey Orgass, Isabella Swyst, and Belinda Liu led the team to success. The other members of Team A, who will also be attending the State Competition, are Adam Aponte, Richard Myers, Andrew Bloniarz, Kenny Peluso, Alyssa Kelly, Lindsey Stevens, Jaclyn Onufrey, Avery Kratzer, Kaitlin Pfundstein, and Sophia Liu.

The theme of this year’s event was Twitter. “Me, Jake [Kaplan], and Kaitlin [Pfundstein] were stressing because we couldn’t think of a theme,” says captain Hailey Orgass. “As a joke, I mentioned Twitter. But after thinking about it, we all decided it would work really well! We made shirts that said “@TaghSciOly” and even made our own Twitter feed that we put outside of our homeroom. Kids from the other schools could leave their Twitter names and write a hashtag to get it “trending”. It was a lot of fun. We really connected with other schools at regionals, which is basically the point of Twitter itself.”

Seniors Colleen Schaefer and Jennifer Follo contributed to the theme by dressing up as Twitter birds and handing out cupcakes and candy to other schools that competed. The Spirit Committee also decorated the hallway, covering the walls with posters that showed the undeniable team spirit Wantagh Science Olympiad has.

A total of eight medals were awarded to Wantagh High School: for Team A, Jaclyn Onufrey and Lindsey Stevens placed second in “Disease Detectives”, Andrew Bloniarz and Sophia Liu placed second in “Dynamic Planet”, Jaclyn Onufrey and Isabella Swyst placed third in “Forestry”, Jake Kaplan and Sophia Liu placed fifth in “Water Quality”, and Isabella Swyst and Kaitlin Pfundstein placed eighth in “Geologic”. For Team B, Jamie Redes and Alex Diaks placed first in “Write It, Do It”, and Kyle Rhodehouse and Blake Andreou placed eighth in “Triple E”. Finally, for Team D, Marissa Polack and Alyssa Soethout placed seventh in “Water Quality”.

“The events at Science Olympiad are unpredictable,” says captain Jake Kaplan. “You can study for hours, but in the end, anything could happen. In one of my events, “Water Quality”, Sophia [Liu] and I spent hours taking practice tests and perfecting our salinometer. At the event, we found that the questions were very difficult. We were pleasantly surprised and proud to have medaled.”

Having placed ninth in the Science Olympiad Regional Competition, Wantagh High School qualified for the State Competition. “When we found out that we were headed to states, everyone jumped up and started screaming,” said captain Jonathan Schifman. “Me and Jake [Kaplan] ran up to the stage and accepted the trophy. We were shaking, people were crying. It was so dramatic.”

The team’s success led to a surprise from Science Olympiad coach Rich Colavita, who had later posted on his untouched Twitter account, “First tweet! Dedicated to the most talented team I’ve ever been lucky enough to coach. No one deserves this more than you. CONGRATS! #states.” Based on the 24 retweets and 53 favorites, this was a huge honor for the team. “Mr. Colativa is great,” says captain Belinda Liu. “We’re so lucky to have him as our Science Olympaid Coach.”

After their success on February 2, Wantagh High School’s Science Olympiad will be at Monroe Woodbury High School in Central Valley, New York on March 8 and 9 competing in States. Senior Jake Kaplan concluded “Being on Science Olympiad since freshman year, I’ve watched this club grow. All of the work has certainly paid off, and I’m so thrilled to be a part of it. Wish us luck at #States!”