Upper School

Science Olympiad Team Takes 17th at State

By Sanddhya Jayabalan ’18
With only one practice invitational in hand, our Science Olympiad team of 16 (Adrian Almy ’19, Auveed Rokhsaz ’19, Blake Birdwell ’18, Eli McDaniel ’19, Evelyn Berry ’21, Grace Ozor ’19, Hector Cantu ’19, Jack Havemann ’21, Josephine Dowd ’21, Katherine Dyson ’18, Selinda Qiu ’18, Gunther Hess ’20, George Moore ’20, Zach Bernard ’21, Grant Rivera ’21, and me, Sanddhya Jayabalan ’18) anxiously embarked on our journey to the regional competition in San Antonio. During competition against 11 other teams, we had our general dose of unexpected surprises, but throughout it all, everyone kept putting their best foot forward.
A few hours following competition, half of our team sat at the top of the auditorium, Chick-fil-A food in hand, waiting for the awards ceremony results. In order to qualify for state competition, our team had to place either first or second. After announcing individual event awards, overall third place was announced, and it wasn’t us. At that point, we were sure we hadn’t placed. Well, all of us except for one. Mr. Wright, one of our amazing team coaches, kept saying “It’s y’all,” claiming we got second place, and before we knew it, we were called up to retrieve our second place trophy. We were so excited, as this was the last time we four senior co-captains (Selinda Qiu, Blake Birdwell, Katherine Dyson, and myself) would get to go to the state competition!

Later we learned one of our tests had been misscored and we had actually gotten third place, by less than ten points. However, if you place third or fourth, the state competition sometimes sends out special invitations to some teams after considering certain factors (competition size, level of competition between teams, etc.). We anxiously waited, hoping we would get another email granting us our special golden ticket to compete at state, and it arrived.

So after weeks of preparation, once again we embarked on our journey, this time to Texas A&M at College Station. Binders, helicopters, and all our other last-minute contraptions travelled with us to the competition.
At state, I competed in 8 events: Helicopters, Mission Possible, WiFi Lab (test portion), Anatomy & Physiology, Astronomy, Forensics, Chemistry Lab, and Experimental Design.

After two days of competing, we placed 17th out of 31 teams, and had six top-ten finishes. Overall, we were very happy with our results, because no matter what, the amount of determination, perseverance, and teamwork that went into preparation was worth more than any award could win us!

About Science Olympiad
In the Science Olympiad competition, there are a total of 28 events. Of these 28 events, 23 are national events, meaning every US state participating in the competition holds these events, while the remaining five events are state events. Each state has their own set of events; for Texas, these events include:
  • Code Busters (cryptography event)
  • Mechathlon (robotics event)
  • Science Word (similar to Pictionary)
  • We’ve Got Your Number (Math event)
  • WiFi Lab (building an antenna)
There are two types of events: building and studying/test. The building events include:
  • Helicopters
  • Mission Possible
  • Mousetrap Vehicle
  • Towers
  • Mechathlon
  • Hovercraft
  • WiFi Lab
The remaining events are test events, which are:
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Astronomy
  • Chemistry Lab
  • Disease Detectives
  • Dynamic Planet (deals with earth science)
  • Ecology
  • Experimental Design (involves designing and executing a lab given certain materials)
  • Fermi Questions (involves performing calculated estimates of certain values, such as the number of pennies that would fit in the Atlantic Ocean)
  • Forensics (mock crime investigation)
  • Game On (creating a game with a given theme using a coding program)
  • Herpetology (study of amphibians and reptiles)
  • Materials Science
  • Microbe Mission
  • Optics
  • Remote Sensing (deals with satellites and other sensing technology)
  • Rocks and Minerals
  • Thermodynamics
  • Write It Do It (involves one person writing set of instructions on how to construct a given model, and other person has to use those instructions to try and rebuild the model when given the materials)
  • Code Busters (cryptography event)
  • Science Word
  • We’ve Got Your Number

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Located in Austin, Texas, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private co-ed elementary, middle and high school for grades K-12. Students benefit from dedicated faculty, a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.