RHS Science Olympiad team isn’t competing this year

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Curtesy of Yearbook

This is the Science Olympiad team that would have competed if there was competition this season.

Science Olympiad is an American team competition in which students compete in 23 events pertaining to various fields of science, including earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering.
“It’s cool to see thousands of science kids competing, getting awards, and it almost looks like the Olympics when you get to the end of the day,” chemistry teacher Jeffery Weller said.
Weller has been the Science Olympiad coach here at RHS for around 12-13 years now.
“Mr. Weller is a really good coach,” junior Sam Bovee said. “I didn’t get to participate as much as I would have liked to, but he was really helpful and active with the competitors.”
The tournament usually involves around 16 high school teams with 15 competitors on each team, competing in an all-day event at Thurston High School. The competitors are given a homeroom, and it is open to the public for all to come and watch science events live.
“I planned on competing this year because I didn’t get to compete my freshman year due to covid and science is one of my favorite classes,” junior Yasmin Gonzalez said.
At the beginning of the year, the team only had nine competitors out of the usual 15; and with decreasing numbers and the tournament changing to satellite, it reduced the motivation to compete, and robbed the students of fun.
“I’m a little disappointed that we won’t be competing this year,” Bovee said. “But at the same time, I’m somewhat relieved because I’ve had such a hectic schedule, so it’s kind of like one thing off my plate.”
This is the first year since Weller has been a coach that RHS is not competing in Science Olympiad.
“This is the first time that we actually decided that it probably was not worth the effort,” Weller said. “The value that students would get out of this format, to me, just didn’t seem like it would be worth the time and dedication put into it.”
Science Olympiad is a national organization and can benefit students in many ways: being part of a team is well recognized by universities, it looks great on your transcript, and after progress, there are scholarship opportunities.
“This would have been my first year doing a Science Olympiad,” Bovee said. “I wanted to do it because I thought that it would be fun and interesting.”
Science Olympiad is usually a memorable day for all that are involved. The competitors would practice and have meetings during the school week and even on Saturdays, get to meet others that enjoy science as much as they do, and they get to show off all of the hard work and dedication they put in.
“My favorite memory of a specific student is when I had a student, back in 2017, who had built a robot arm. He didn’t read the directions all the way through, and he programmed the whole sequence of the arm as opposed to controlling it on the spot,” Weller said. “The judges were impressed, but we got the biggest laugh out of it.”
The hope for the Science Olympiad is to really try and bump up the numbers and promote it a little more in the future; and they are trying to get the middle school involved because most of the programs in our area have both middle and high school teams.
“Science Olympiad is for anybody; anyone can join and give it a try,” Gonzalez said. “There are so many different avenues and things that people can experience and experiment with.”
Any student that is considering a career in science, or even just enjoys science, should be looking into joining the Science Olympiad team next year.
“What we do in the classroom is great, but to really give yourself a chance to push your academics, and your ability to compete gives you an edge in our scientific world,” Weller said.