Science Olympiad prepares for states

DeVoncye Freelon

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Photo by DeVoncye Freelon

Members of Science Olympiad prep for their competition in study groups by events.The event “Ornithology” studies birds, meanwhile the event “Circuit Lab” experiment with circuitry for their upcoming competition.

There is no shortage of intelligent students at WJ, with many of them signed up for clubs to express their scholastic ability. Clubs such as Science Olympiad allow students to compete against many other Montgomery County schools. The club currently has an average of 70-80 people, but there are some who lack the commitment of attending meetings. Science Olympiad has a wide variety of events that the club studies, trains, builds and participates in. They participate in events such as building, engineering and studying. They study things from astronomy to birds, chemical labs and circuitry. Each individual event ranges from 8-12 people who consistently participate and work one-on-one with the club’s student executive board. Most of the time at competitions, the club ranks the teams to see overall how they did as a school. It has consistently been ranked as one of the top teams in the Maryland area. Two years ago the club ranked fifth in states, last year fourth in states and this year they are hoping to set their sights on claiming first place.

“Most recently we had a competition at the National Cathedral School in D.C. and we got first in that competition. There were many teams around the D.C. area, but one of the major schools against us was probably Fairfax High School because they’re a fairly strong team, but we managed to get first this year so that was good,” senior Steven Shockley said.

Science Olympiad works every week on different days during lunch and after school to prepare for their competitions. Every day, time is set aside to prepare, build or study so they can be 100% certain that they are ready. With the help of their two sponsors, Mr. Brock Eastman and Mr. Fedor Menchukov, the members of the club are able to test their knowledge with games and small quizzes made by the leaders of each event.

“I’m the leader of forensics so within my event, I hold a weekly meeting every Tuesday after school and every single week we go through the different areas of knowledge that you need to know for the event. So sometimes, I’ll give them quizzes on identifying different powders, sometimes I’ll give them little worksheets or activities to work on vocabulary or the different terms that they need to know, or anything like that. It really depends on what kind of event you have,” senior Marina Smith-Hanke said.

Some of the Science Olympiad members have been involved since their days in middle school and many of the seniors are going to continue on the science track for college. Even with all of their accomplishments, some of the members feel as if the club is underappreciated.

“I don’t feel like we get the recognition we deserve from the school. I mean last year we didn’t have all that much success; we got fourth at states which isn’t great, but this year we won our first competition of the season, which is like a medium difficulty competition. If we keep on winning, then it’ll be really cool if we got recognition, especially if we finish at least in the top three in the state competition,” senior Matthew Lewton said.

Science Olympiad’s next competition will be Feb. 1 at the University Of Maryland.