Science Olympiad struggles to find new adviser

Club members search for teacher to supervise

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Ndunzi Kunsunga

More stories from Ndunzi Kunsunga


Culver Carden

Junior Cailey Hanson-Mahoney talks to social studies teacher Jillian Merkle about the possibility of Merkle being the adviser for the Science Olympiad. Former members of the Science Oympiad team have been having challenges finding an adviser and forming the club again this year.

Science Olympiad adviser for 12 years, Jenny Magdal is choosing to discontinue leading the club, leaving members to find a new leader.

“I was the one who started (Science Olympiad) at the high school 12 years ago, so it meant a lot to me to be able to (be the adviser). The groups have been so much fun,” Magdal said.

According to Magdal, she can no longer be the adviser due to circumstances unrelated to the club.

“I needed to make some priorities in my life and I just can’t do everything,” Magdal said.

Science Olympiad co-captain junior Cailey Hanson-Mahoney said she is currently looking for a new adviser to take Magdal’s place.

“This year in Science Olympiad, we are looking for an adviser because Madal can no longer be our adviser. We have asked most of the science teachers and we are just trying to find an adviser,” Hanson-Mahoney said.

Hanson-Mahoney said her love for the club comes from her admiration for her fellow club members.

“One thing I really like is that when I go to Science Olympiad I feel dumb, like I know some things about science, but some of the people there know so much about science and are so interested in it,” Hanson-Mahoney said. “I think it’s really cool and the people there are really interesting.”

Science Olympiad co-captain junior Ilsa Olsen said she will miss Magdal leading the club.

“It made me feel sad (when Magdal announced she could no longer be the adviser). She has just been doing it for so many years and it has been really awesome,” Olsen said. “I really like Magdal, but I am happy that she is able to do other things now.”

According to Olsen, Hanson-Mahoney has been talking to social studies teacher Jillian Merkle about possibly being the adviser.

“I know (Hanson-Mahoney) has talked to Merkle and (Merkle) has said she would (be the adviser) if we did all the work. An adviser would give us the topic and write one of tests for the actual event day, so (if it was student-run) we would have to do all of that,” Olsen said. “I think Merkle is on board if we really wanted to do it.”

Merkle said she would be willing to be the adviser if no one else steps up.

“I’d be willing to (be the adviser) if they can’t find any other teacher, or science teacher specifically. I would (be the adviser) if they want to run the club and if they need space they could use my classroom,” Merkle said. “I obviously would not be able to help them with Science Olympiad stuff, but I would be happy to support them.”

Olsen said having a student-run club would be a lot of work and perhaps not worth it.

“Right now we are not sure if (we are going to be a club this year) because it is a lot of work for me and (Hanson-Mahoney) and whoever else wants to be head of the club,” Olsen said. “If (Merkle) can’t, we might try to find someone else or we might just say we can’t do the club anymore.”

According to Hanson-Mahoney, if the club discontinues, she will miss the members the most.  

“I’ll miss the people in (Science Olympiad). It’s the people in Science Olympiad that I don’t see a lot outside of school, but people that I definitely care about and have known for a long time,” Hanson-Mahoney said.