Charter Day School “scientists” bring home medals from regional Science Olympiad competition

Charter Day Middle School Students scored top ten rankings in 5 separate competitions at the regional Science Olympiad competition held at UNC-W on March 4th.

Schools across North Carolina compete annually in the competition, which hosts 23 events in the fields of genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering and technology. Examples from the 23 various competitions at the event include:

• Students are tasked with using their knowledge of physics and engineering to build structures entirely out of duct tape, ex. Tallest tower, most buoyant boat, strongest bridge, etc.

• Students direct the beam of a stationary laser pointer around obstacles to a target using only a set number of mirrors.

• Students construct a “vehicle” carrying an egg on the front that travels down a ramp, and stops by itself before hitting a barrier, (thus breaking the egg.)

Charter Day School (CDS) is a K-8 tuition-free charter school in Leland. As charter schools have the freedom to offer alternative curricula to state-mandated educational programs, CDS opts to provide a unique classical curriculum. CDS currently provides both the top-scoring elementary and middle schools in Brunswick County on state End-of-Grade tests. Two teams—a JV and Varsity—represented the school in Science Olympiad competition.

Teams divided into groups of two or three students and competed in each category, placing in the top 10 of 40 schools in these categories.

CDS Varsity
• Scrambler – 3rd
• Wind Power – 6th
• Optics – 8th

• Duct Tape Challenge – 3rd
• Road Scholars – 5th

This was CDS’ sixth year in competition and the second year of competition for CDS’ sister school, Columbus Charter School, (CCS) located in Whiteville. CCS offers an identical educational program to that at CDS and also provides the top-scoring elementary and middle schools in its county— Columbus — on End-of-Grade tests. The educational program in place at both schools is provided by The Roger Bacon Academy, Inc. (RBA), an educational management company that provides curriculum, support, and administrative services to public charter schools. The RBA family of schools also includes Douglass Academy in downtown Wilmington and South Brunswick Charter School in Southport.

“Science Olympiad is an excellent model for the types of tasks they would be given on a daily basis in a career in science and technology,” explained Baker Mitchell, the founder of RBA and an engineer by training, “In competition, students are given a problem, a set of guidelines, and a set number of resources to solve the problem to the best of their ability. They get to creatively apply what they’ve learned in our classrooms to a real-world situation. They see firsthand why science and math are so important to learn to mastery.”

CDS Science Olympiad teams were coached by 7th grade science teacher and winner of the 2016 Ann Watkins Distinguished Middle School Teacher Award from the NC Science Teacher Association, David Johnson. Mr. Johnson is assisted by fellow teachers Jonathan Urban, Nicole Fine, and Sarah Gardinor.

All four schools in the RBA family are enrolling students for the upcoming 2017-2018 year on a first-come first served basis. All schools are tuition-frew and offer a classical curriculum which, among other things, includes Latin and Cursive. For more information, please visit

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