Providence ES Sixth Grade Students Take First in Science Olympiad Competition

Valentina Rivera and Ben Chase might have different interests, but they teamed up to win the “Write It, Do It” regional competition in February. Valentina plays piano, takes dancing lessons, and likes to play with her dog, a shih tzu named Enzo, but she is also Providence ES highest scoring student in the Science Olympiad club in the “Write It, Do It” writing portion. Her partner, Ben, plays basketball and is a member of the Providence ES Pounderz bucket drumming club, but according to Valentina, “he is the best builder” in the Science Olympiad club.

“Write It, Do It” is a competition for two teammates. Valentina was shown a photo of a structure made from household items like plastic cups, a ruler, and pipe cleaners. She had twenty-five minutes to describe the structure on paper. She then left the instructions for Ben. Ben was given a box full of needed and extra supplies to build a structure solely based on Valentina’s instructions. Ben finished early. “She gave really good directions,” he said of his teammate. The two were declared the winners later in the month through a video they streamed online. “I was so excited when I saw Providence ES I screamed and Enzo just jumped out of my arms,” Valentina said. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw our school at the top of the list. It was so cool,” said Ben.

“As a coach I am very proud of Val and Ben’s accomplishment in one of the hardest events, beating out middle and elementary teams from across northern Virginia,” said Alan Borhauer, Providence ES Advanced Academic Resource Teacher and Science Olympiad sponsor. “This award shows that Val’s attention to detail and Ben’s deciphering of her directions is a great exhibition of science discovery at its finest.”

The Providence ES Science Olympiad team participated in several challenges. Valentina was a part of the “Disease Detectives,” “Bridge,” and “Crave the Wave” events, while Ben was a part of the “Crime Busters” and “Code Busters” groups. The challenges are meant for students to work together on various topics. To prepare for competitions, the club meets twice a week, doing research and practicing tasks. The competitions begin at school and then move onto regional events like the one in February at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

Both students enjoy the club and competitions, even if they are tough. “Some of the challenges were so hard,” said Ben. “But they are really fun, especially when you are building things.” His teammate agrees. “You just have to keep practicing and be curious, and you can do really well in Science Olympiad,” said Valentina.

Sixth grade teacher Laura May said the two students’ skills were a good team. “I think Science Olympiad combined their different skills perfectly, and obviously, it worked out well.”