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First-time Science Olympiad Team Finds Success, Prepares for State Competition

It’s not unheard of to set high expectations of the students of Gate City Charter Academy, but students, staff, and family members at the school weren’t ready for this. The school’s first-ever Science Olympiad team came away from a March regional competition with two first-place finishers, as well as second- and third-place finishers. The team is overjoyed.
“While each student worked very hard on their individual events, this is a new experience for everyone, and the team was not sure what to expect at Regionals,” Coach and Eighth Grade Science Teacher Denise Roark said. “So, when four teams received awards, the team as a whole was very excited and there was quite a bit of cheering. As their coach, I was so impressed with the overall team spirit and level of encouragement for each other.” 

Regional winners received medals for their efforts.
Regional winners received medals for their efforts.

The two first place teams will compete at the state competition in Raleigh, North Carolina, April 12-13. They consist of eighth graders Dallas Miller and Jerrin Graham in the Optics Event, and eighth graders Anejell Figueroa in the Reach for the Stars Event.
The eighth-grade Anatomy and Physiology team of Nola Adams and Makayla Sumlin finished in second place at the regional, while the eighth grade Crimebusters team of Alyssa Harris and Surayyah Harrington took third place. It’s an incredible start for the first-year team.

Gate City Anatomy & Phys. team took second place at regionals.
Anatomy and Physiology team of Nola Adams and Makayla Sumlin finished in second place at the regionals.
“Even before going to the competition, we had so much support from the school as a whole, with many of the classes writing encouragement posters that we hung up around our home base room at the Regional competition,” she said.
The team consists of 15 members, and they work together to help each other prepare for competitions. The focus right now is helping the two teams prepare for the state competition. Roark said one of the students on the Optics team tries to get his work done early in science class so he can focus on the mathematical equations required for the Optics exam. He also carries around his Optics for Dummies book to use as a reference.
The recent success has created even more buzz around the team.
“Some of my current eighth graders that will be moving on have asked about coming back next year to possibly participate as ninth graders or even help out if we offer a Science Olympiad summer camp,” she said. “Many sixth and seventh graders have also approached me about being on the team next year, so we are hoping to expand from having one team to being able to have a Varsity and a Junior Varsity team next year.”
Congratulations on the amazing start, Gate City Science Olympians!

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About Gate City Charter Academy
Gate City Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Greensboro, North Carolina, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 68,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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