Science Olympiad: Bound for State

AHS Science Olympiad

Leslie Chen and Phillip Gan

On Feb. 23, AHS’ Science Olympiad competed at the LA County Science Olympiad Regionals hosted at Rio Hondo College. Out of the 50 schools there, SciOly placed 1st as a team! Led by adviser Mrs. Yumiko Goto and Captain seniors William Shue and Kevin Tan, the team medaled in 18 events.

Founded in 1984, Science Olympiad is one of the premier science competitions in the nation, providing rigorous, standards-based challenges to nearly 8,000 teams—elementary, middle, and high school teams—from all 50 states. These difficult challenges range from designing and testing a handmade miniature plane to memorizing extensive knowledge about outer space. However, although there are 23 different events each year, schools are only allowed to bring 15 students to Regionals and State. Not only do team members have to specialize in more than one event, but each event requires partners (some with up to three) to compete. As a result, each student is responsible for at least three events. Surprisingly, this method is an efficient one— it allows students to focus on studying a few subjects in detail while also allowing a partner to cover each other’s backs, which also promotes teamwork.

These events are split into two types: building and test-taking. For example, for Mission Possible, a pair of students had to build, test, and perfect a Rube Goldberg machine ahead of time and bring it to the competitions. In Anatomy and Physiology, two students had to study, understand, and memorize as much information as they could about the three assigned human body systems. Sound intimidating? Fortunately, because it’s unreasonable to try to cram so much knowledge in less than a year, depending on the event, partners are allowed to bring notes that are usually completely covered in fine text.

Going into the competition, SciOly’s members were confident and prepared. “We were definitely hyped up for our regional competition to see how we would stack up against other schools in SoCal,” Kevin said. He also attributed their win to the contestants’ hard work and dedication. “I know that all of our competing members worked tirelessly in preparation for this competition, whether that be late nights building boomilevers and mousetrap vehicles or preparing study guides and lab kits,” he added. Members are expected to attend as many meetings as they can, and meeting times can increase dramatically as competitions near. They’re also expected to meet outside of school to study and work on building events.

Because Science Olympiad placed first in Regionals, the team would be moving onto State. “I was absolutely blown away by our first place finish as a team; none of this would have been possible without the amazing synergy between our members and our constant support for each other,” Kevin exclaimed. “I’m so proud of how far we’ve come as a team since our first meeting in June, and I’m excited to see what the future holds!”

Congratulations to SciOly and Mrs. Goto for the hard-earned win. We wish them luck in their upcoming state competition in April!