It’s been nearly 13 years since Okemos High School’s National Ocean Science Bowl team finished near the top of the Great Lakes National Science Bowl. The Okemos team has been celebrating all week their second place title.
The NOSB is a regional academic competition held in Lansing, Michigan, where teams of high school students from all over compete for the regional title.
Dave Chapman, a science teacher at Okemos High School, has coached the group for over 15 years.
“Mr. Chapman has put his life into this school and team,” said Adam Lacasse, an NOSB team member. “He’s even invested a lot of his own time and money into the club.”
“I see this club as a place for students who have a genuine interest in oceans and an opportunity for students to be involved with something fun and unique,” said Chapman.
Chapman’s deep passions in oceanography became contagious, and this year, the students were inspired and motivated just enough to place second in the region, winning a cash prize of $400 that will be used for funding their club.
The competition was structured like a quiz bowl where students within teams of five get asked questions about ocean science. “There were a lot of difficult questions,” said Lacasse.
Lacasse’s strong suit was tackling concepts related to the geography of oceans. This is where he felt he’d make the biggest difference.
“Last year was my first year competing in this competition, I was really nervous then. Since I had a year of experience under my belt, this year went a lot smoother for me, and I wasn’t as nervous,” said Lacasse.
Even though the Okemos team seemed to have most of their nerves under control, their ability to perform under pressure was still tested. “Last year’s champions were there,” said Lacasse.
“We played them in the early stages of the competition, and they beat us pretty good.” he said. “We ended up versing them again in the second round of elimination. It was high stakes, we pushed for it, and we beat them by a slim margin which was really cool for us!”
Lacasse wasn’t the only main contributor to the team.
Jamie Eagle, a Okemos High School senior, also played a crucial role in the team’s success: “They refer to me as The Educated Guesser. I’m really good at problem solving and figuring out the right answer, even if I don’t know 100%.”
Unlike Adam, who had a specific subject focus for the competition, Jamie’s role was simply to choose the best answer when the team couldn’t decide on a final answer. Believe it or not, if Jamie wasn’t there, the team wouldn’t have performed as well as they did in the final rounds.
Nevertheless, despite not winning first place, the Okemos team was more than grateful and honored to bring home a second place title in a competition with dozens of teams from high schools from all over the region. They have not placed within top three in over 13 years.