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Science Olympiad Invite provides opportunity for Intelletes to shine in Belleville
Marie Perry

The Belleville’s Varsity Science Olympiad Platinum Team placed 4th in Division 2 (Small School) at the Belleville Science Olympiad Invite held in Belleville on Nov. 11, 2023. It was an amazing event hosting upwards of 1,000 competitors from three states and provided an early start for the season. Intelletes arrived by the bus load early Saturday morning hauling supplies, lab kits, and tools in preparation for a day of intense competition. Through the hard work and passion of Belleville’s Coach Meredith Smith, this meet has steadily grown in size and this year attracted competitors from all over Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. It is incredible energy to see this many students gathering and competing in STEM-related events and soaring!

Mrs. Smith is dedicated to providing opportunities for her science students both inside and outside of the classroom, and this invitational meet is a wonderful demonstration of passionate educators coming together in the region and seeing their students put their best feet forward.

At an invitational meet like this, the excitement and enthusiasm for the event is palpable in the hallways and classrooms as students compete from a large palette of choices that include subjects such as Anatomy and Physiology, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Ecology, Engineering, Geology, Horticulture and much, much more! This academic sport allows students to extend their classroom knowledge and experience into a competition that continues to stretch the limits of their knowledge and the chance to collaborate with others to compete in areas of high interest. For some, it is a chance to expand beyond their classroom choices and independently explore unique interests through events like Disease Detectives, Forensics, Geocaching, or Robot Tour.  

Belleville Junior Sariah Croft and Science Olympiad competitor says, “Science Olympiad is an all-around great experience, it allows you to learn about a variety of new science/STEM-related topics while also learning more about your interests. The different events are interesting and fun to prepare for. They include things like bridge building, geocaching, astronomy, code analysis, and much more.” 

The inclusivity of this competition is really quite tremendous in that it is interest-based, so anyone can join if their school sponsors a team — including middle grade students. The more you work in a category of interest, the stronger one gets — it exemplifies the concept of being a life-long learner as students get the opportunity to build upon their own interests. Through study, preparation, practice, and classroom work, students grow in this academic sport and build strong friendships to boot! Competitions allow a social network of students to form around interests that expand beyond the walls of their own schools. The season is long (November-April), so students often travel over weekends to compete at various high schools, colleges and University of Wisconsin campuses, and it allows friendships to become strong ones.

Here is the breakdown of Belleville’s intelletes individual medaling events:

Anatomy and Physiology: 2nd Place Belleville Gold (Emily Swanson and Sofie Veeneman) and 6th Place Belleville Silver (Kariya Harris and Faith Waefler)

Astronomy: 2nd Place Belleville Platinum (Aidan Perry and Martin Veeneman)

Chemistry Lab: 1st Place Belleville Platinum (Aidan Perry and Tim Fleener)

Codebusters: 6th Place Belleville Platinum (Grace Lewis, Mallory Thompson, Addy Hendrickson)

Disease Detectives: 1st Place Belleville Gold (Emily Swanson and Kaydie Shrader) and 6th Place Belleville Platinum (Lexi Radl and Addy Hendrickson)

Detector Building: 1st Place Belleville Platinum (Ari Mehta)

Dynamic Planet: 6th Place Belleville Platinum (Ben Johnson and Martin Veeneman)

Ecology: 5th Place Belleville Platinum (Abby Kaetterhenry and Alora Spiegel)

Fermi Questions: 6th Place Belleville Platinum (Tim Fleener and Martin Veeneman)

Forensics: 6th Place Belleville Platinum (Aidan Cook and Alora Spiegel)

Fossils: 5th Place Belleville Platinum (Lizzy Lloyd and Addy Hendrickson)

Geocaching: 6th Place Belleville Platinum (Ben Johnson and Alora Spiegel)

Geologic Mapping: 4th Place Belleville Gold (Keegan Dohm and Sariah Croft)

Horticulture: 5th Place Belleville Platinum (Abby Kaetterhenry and Grace Lewis)

Microbe Mission: 2nd Place Belleville Platinum (Lizzy Lloyd and Aidan Cook) and 3rd Place Belleville Silver (Kariya Harris and Faith Waefler)

Optics: 4th Place Belleville Platinum (Aidan Cook and Ari Mehta)

Precision Medicine: 6th Place Belleville Platinum (Lexi Radl and Mallory Thompson)

Robot Tour: 3rd Place Belleville Platinum (Ari Mehta)

Scrambler: 3rd Place Belleville Platinum (Ben Johnson and Noah Hatlevig)

Tower: 4th Place Belleville Platinum (Mallory Thompson)

Wind Power: 4th Place Belleville Platinum (Alora Spiegel and Tim Fleener)

Write It Do It: 2nd Place Belleville Gold (Sofie Veeneman and Emily Swanson)

District Administrator Nate Perry remembers, “Mrs. Smith came to me about starting a Science Olympiad team 9 years ago. I was familiar with the program since I taught at Grand Haven Area High School (MI) which has won three Science Olympiad national championships. Mrs. Smith has built an extremely strong program in a short period of time, competing with the best teams in the state. The team provides an outstanding opportunity for students with an interest in the Sciences to explore, compete, and hone their skills.”

Belleville’s team looks forward to building upon the strengths of this season opener as they prepare to host the regional competition on Feb. 3rd, 2024. In the meantime, their next meets will take the team to Boyceville, Marquette, Medford and UW-River Falls on their journey to state competition. In the meantime, Mrs. Smith will help her team be the best they can be in every way she can!

— Marie Perry is the Communications Director for the School District of Belleville. She can be reached at