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Students savor science

Studying and fun might not be used in the same sentence by many high school students, but for members of the Ballston Spa Science Olympiad Team, those two words have a direct correlation. They clock copious after school hours researching online, mastering new facts and constructing science modelsbut they're doing it with their friends and that's part of the reason why the extra work doesn't always feel like work.

I've always liked science, it's kind of been my thing. Getting to study with my friends and learning new things is a lot of fun," said Catie Bonga, a senior who has been part of the team for two years.

The long hours seem to have paid off. The team recently placed third out of 21 local teams at the regional Science Olympiad competition, qualifying them for the state-wide tournament at West Point Military Academy on March 19 and 20. They won medals in 14 out of 22 events, which range from construction of robots to college-level written assessments in biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, computers and technology. Exams are timed and between 60 and 100 questions.

Bonga did protein modeling, cell biology, fossils and disease detective events. Cell biology and disease detective were written tests where participants were given situational questions. For fossils, she was given specimens to examine, identify and answer questions about. Before the competition she had to build a model of protein and then construct another on site. Bonga chose her events based on AP classes she has taken and what her strengths are and will repeat them at the state tournament, plus add another.

"I'm also going to do mission impossible, which is where you build something before you get there that deals with a series of events; one thing causing something else to happen," said Bonga.

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