Science Olympiad moves on after placing at Regionals


Left to right: Mr. Carmody, junior Zareen Johnson, senior Chris Wilson, Ms. Ezratty, seniors Lena Kogan, Sabina Unni, Stacy Kim, Andrew Costenoble, Crystal Ren, juniors Tiger Gao, Zach Hage, senior Chris Bendix, juniors Joe Pizzuti, Dylan Lee, and Raj Talukdar form the winning Science Olympiad team.

Emily Ma and Rebecca Muratore, Staff Writers

The Science Olympiad team recently qualified for States after coming in seventh place in the Nassau West Regional division.   The competition was held at Kellenberg Memorial High School on Jan. 31.  Schreiber competed against 33 other schools.  In total, the team won nine medals out of the 21 events they entered.

“This year we placed seventh in Regionals so we are going to states for the second year in a row,” said junior and Science Olympiad member Andrew Gruber.  “After States would be the National Tournament, but it is extremely difficult to qualify for that.”

In total, the team scored 174 points, medaling in Air Trajectory, Chemistry Lab, Disease Detectives, Dynamic Planet, Entomology, Forensics, It’s About Time, Green Generation, and Write it Do it.  These events include both technology and study events.

“Study events are just tests in a specific area of science,” said Gruber.  “In tech events, we build structures and test them.”

Depending on how well students score in an individual event, they are ranked against other competing teams.  That ranking determines who medals in each event, as well as the final score for the team.  Ultimately, the team with the lowest overall score wins the competition.

The Science Olympiad team began practicing weeks before the regional competition.  Although they formally met after school to prepare, many students studied information or built models outside of school. Now that the team has moved onto States, they are practicing after school every day except for Wednesdays. The team has 15 members along with two alternates.  Each event requires a team of either two or three students to work on it, giving each member about two to three events to compete in for each competition.

“Everyone gets along with each other and seems to enjoy their events, which makes the experience on the team fun and positive,” stated junior Annie Kline.

The team members practice for their events in a number of ways.  Most of the events require studying, so the students turn to multiple resources to help them prepare.  Practice tests in events from previous years as well as resource books in the varying subject areas help the students practice for information-based events.  Some areas of study, such as entomology, require identification skills for their tests, so the students practice identifying the types of specimens that will be in the event.

This was one of the most successful years for the team at Regionals.

“This was one of our better Regionals for medals,” said team advisor and science teacher Ms. Marla Ezratty. “Usually we don’t get a huge number of medals, but we always figure in eighth, nineth, or tenth place.  As long as you stay in that range you’ll have a pretty good score overall.”

The technology events involve building structures and devices before the competition that will accomplish a required task.  For an example, in Bridge Building, the team must build the lightest bridge that would also hold the most weight.  On the other hand, Mission Possible requires teams to construct a Rube Goldberg device that carries out a series of chain reactions as close to an ideal time as possible.

If the team ranks high enough at States, they will move onto the national level of competition.

“While it would be very nice, the difference is that for a lot of the schools that win, Science Olympiad is part of their actual courses,” said team advisor Mr. Carmody of the science department.  “For our members, most of them are taking AP classes and participating in multiple clubs, so they are stretched thin.  Schools that focus on Science Olympiad have an advantage.”

Despite this disadvantage, the team puts its all into preparing for every competition.

“After the seniors left last year, we weren’t sure how we would be able to pull together a team, but somehow we were able to make states,” said senior Lena Kogan.  “I think one of our main goals remains to be able to gather a foundation of members that will be able to hold up the team after we graduate as well.”

“Well, I really enjoy the challenge of trying something outside of what we normally do in school,” said senior Andrew Costenoble.  “And I’m so proud of the team for making it to States.”