Upper School Science Night Celebrates Both Growth and Achievement

Upper School Science Night Celebrates Both Growth and Achievement

By Joshua Caditz, Upper School Science Teacher

The 2024 Upper School Science Night on June 6 showcased the dynamic and evolving nature of the school’s science program. Originally a celebration of grade nine learning, the event has expanded into a comprehensive display of scientific inquiry and achievement across all high school grades.

On Science Night, OES students proudly present their science and engineering inquiry projects to the community, showcasing their hard work and discoveries. This year, the event featured an impressive 225 projects on display, ranging from ninth grade physics experiments to advanced research projects by grade 12 students. Each project highlights the diverse and innovative approaches our students take in exploring scientific questions and engineering challenges, reflecting the depth and breadth of their learning experiences.

“Our science program continuously progresses as we collect and analyze more data, understand how students learn, and adapt to the changing needs of our community,” said Robin O’Hara, OES Science Chair. This year’s Science Night highlighted these developments, particularly the new year-long research structure that supports students throughout their inquiry process. "This change enables significant and consistent individual growth in science skills, and it gives students the opportunity to share their progress with the community,” O’Hara added.

The new course structure has also enhanced the OES Science Research program, which is part of the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Students now have the opportunity to iterate on their class inquiry projects, collect more data, and refine their submissions for the Aardvark Science Expo in February 2025.

Under the new structure, OES students have excelled in various competitions this year. Highlights included Diego F. '25 and Lauren T. ’25 earning special awards at ISEF, Jiaming Z. ’25 being selected as Oregon's state winner for the Stockholm Water Competition, and Shriya M. ’25 becoming a national champion in the National STEM Challenge. The OES Aerospace Team also finished in the top 20 in the American Rocketry Challenge. “We are incredibly proud of our students' achievements,” O'Hara said. "Their success is a testament to their growth mindsets and the high-quality science and engineering work they produce.”

O’Hara also announced an exciting new development for the Upper School: “We are grateful to the Gewecke and Clark families for their generous donations, which will enhance our science program for years to come,” O’Hara said. The contribution from the Gewecke family will transform the OES Greenhouse into a multidisciplinary learning space with hydroponic and aquaponic systems. Meanwhile, the Clark family's funding for a new gas chromatograph will significantly improve the capacity for high-quality climate science inquiry, allowing students to investigate the environment more broadly.

In closing, O'Hara thanked the parents and guardians for their unwavering support. “Your trust in us is deeply appreciated as we strive to nurture each student's growth as both scientists and individuals,” she said.

The OES Upper School Science Night was a celebration of the collective commitment to excellence in science education, and the community looks forward to many more such milestones in the future.