Science Olympiad is a high school and middle school competition in which numerous schools from the United States participate to demonstrate interest and devotion to learning the world of science. The competition offers numerous building events and study events dealing with topics like optics, astronomy, chemistry lab, invasive species, microbe mission, forensics, and robots.
Each event usually requires a team of two who cooperate to compete against other teams in written tests and/or by making physical creations, such as helicopters, that must operate in a way that matches the criteria of the particular contest. Some events involve traditional tests and physical tests: in optics, for example, contestants have to calculate the angles at which mirrors and walls are placed in order to guide a beam of light into a specific spot as accurately as possible. With such a wide array of disciplines, Science Olympiad can capture the minds of a variety of students interested in the sciences.
Just two years ago, however, Beverly Hills High School did not have a team. Two then sophomores named Jaime and Sophia founded the club in the school and gathered a group of students interested in science in order to start the school’s team. They found support in the school’s chemistry and AP Environmental Science teacher, Ms. Smith, as the sponsor of the club. The co-presidents asked the members to independently prepare with weekly meetings and occasional gatherings for the county competition.
In early 2016, the BHHS SciOly team ended up placing 6th out of 31 teams, a result that made the team qualify for the states. The team did well in state, but not nearly as well as the co-presidents had ambitiously hoped they would do: they did not qualify for the nationals. Following the first year with good results, in the upcoming year, Jaime and Sophia, as juniors, are seeking to improve the team by starting preparations in the summer and requiring more study meetings outside of school hours including weekends. Currently, they are in the process of assigning events to each member of the team for him or her to begin studying. This time, their goal is to place much higher in state to qualify into the next national stage, with even more members than the previous year.