Science Olympiad succeeds in LA

The Science Olympiad (SO) chapter at CVHS recently competed in LA at Temple City High School, which hosted Bird Science Olympiad (BirdSO), an avian-themed SO competition. Participating teams, Xenon and Argon, earned a prestigious second place out of 45 overall schools.

Seniors Tony Mei and Elise Lo are both part of the executive committee (ex-coms). They organize the competitions and assign people their events. 

“We [Ex-coms] are five equal officers. We have a 60-member science club, we go to tournaments, and we have weekly meetings for all 23 events. So it’s a lot of logistics that we go through every week. We split up all of the work and make everything run,” said Mei.

Mei and Lo have both been a part of SO since middle school.

“At first, I didn’t really know anybody [in SO].  But then once I became an ex-com, I got to talk with more people. And I made a lot more friends, which was nice. Now it’s just very comfortable, and I really like being with everyone,” Lo shared. 

“In seventh grade, I was like, I want to build a mousetrap car, I want to learn about how the brain works. But over time, these past six years, I’ve grown to learn that this is a community, right? So I really want to spread this knowledge and this gift of science and this curiosity,” Mei declared.

BirdSO is an invitational, a mini competition hosted by local teams. Although even middle schools can host their own invitationals, well known institutions like Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of California (UC) Berkeley, and the University of Chicago also hold large-scale tournaments that attract people from all over the nation.

There are 23 official events covering a large spectrum of STEM fields.  Participants typically prepare for their event by meeting weekly with a group and a coach.  They go over the material and take practice tests, starting around September, and continue until the regional competition in February.  Event types include labs, build events, and study events.

Although Mei and Lo had not participated in many in-person Science Olympiad events due to the pandemic, this competition was a smashing success. 

They chose to register after they heard of the event online

“It was the first time doing something like that. During quarantine, it was online. We were able to compete in competitions that we wouldn’t have been able to compete at [usually] but it was all virtual, so we didn’t get the full experience. So it was cool to actually be able to travel somewhere and compete,” said Lo.

This year, they have had a lot more invitationals as opposed to primarily local events.  In the last few years, CVHS SO participation in invitationals has “skyrocketed”, according to Mei.  They now have competitions almost every week.  They have competed in Sacramento and at UC Davis and UC Berkeley, and the season is not even over yet!

A lot of help goes into running the club, from teacher advisors, Kelley O’Hern and Laura O’Brien, to head coaches, Garland Dughi and Bruce Dughi. There are also 23 event coaches, consisting of parent volunteers and students who have stepped up.  

Keep an eye out for SO at CVHS, because it looks like they have a bright future!

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