East students return to Beck for award winning Science Team

Scott Kessler ('09)/Eastside Opinions Editor

Two years ago, the Beck Science team was born.  Since then, its success has brought accolades and respect to the fledgling program.  Enough interest formed that Cherry Hill East adopted the program and now sports a team of its own at the high school level.

Five East students helped to propel Beck’s team to a fifth place finish at the State Championship last year, in only its second year of existence.  The Beck Middle School team was the only public school to reach the top five in last year’s competition, as well. 

“Science Olympiad is an intense competition with 23 events.  The kids work tirelessly, starting in the summer, before and after school, lunch and any other free time that they have.  I’m honored to coach these kids,” Beck Science Team coach Mrs. Marlene Houlihan said.

This year, Beck welcomed back five graduates to help lead the 2008-2009 squad.  Steven Feldman (’12), Eric Kessler (’12), Maureen Quay (’12), Josh Wynne (’12) and Tim Yoon (’12) are aiming to aid the Beck Science Team in its quest for more in the Science Olympiad State Championship. 

Arun Reddy (’13), an eighth grader at Beck, said “They don’t really help – they’re really part of the team.”

“The ninth graders are mentors and excellent role models.  The younger kids look up to them, accept their suggestions and even constructive criticism.  They are to be commended for taking time out of their busy high school schedules to help out their alma-mater, Beck,” said Houlihan.

At this meeting Houlihan discussed event choices and selections of those events for each team member.  One example of an event for the Science Olympiad is the Bio-Process lab, which is being done by Jishnu Desai (’13) and Michael Hwang (’13).  In Bio-Process, Desai and Hwang must solve complex lab activities, such as using their combined knowledge to field questions relating to salmonella.  Feldman, Kessler, Quay, Wynne and Yoon are focusing on Robotics, Disease Detectives and Trajectory, Robotics, Amphibians and Reptiles and Disease Detectives and Trajectory, respectively. 

The club is loose and free flowing; as kids work on a mechanized ball grabbing robot, Nadig can be seen working and dancing in rhythm to music coming from his iPhone.  Some of the team had been clamoring for a chance to observe dry ice for the experimental design event and were rewarded with the substance today.

Like redshirt freshmen in football, the five returning students will strive for a successful year.  Dan Shen (’13) simplified this year’s team into a single goal. 

“Our goal is to get at least third place this year and place in all of the events,” he said.