Science Olympiad competes at Regionals

Science Olympiad gets together one last time to celebrate their “Olympian” feats this season. (Photo courtesy of Jen Grutza. )

Science Olympiad has recently been preparing for their Regionals tournament. Although this year has changed a lot with how the competition runs, there are still a plethora of different events that students compete in, from build events to epidemiology. 

The team has had some major success such as placing sixth in Water Quality, fifth in Anatomy & Physiology, fourth in Write It Do It, and second in Sound of Music at the Loyola Academy Invitational. These competitions have traditionally been in person, but the format was changed because of the pandemic.

“This has basically been all online tournaments,” said coach Megan Sylverne. “Throughout the day, they usually start at 8 in the morning and go until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. They’re basically hour long sessions for different events. Students go in and compete with their partner in their event throughout the day. Some kids are in five events and some kids are in one or two events, so it looks different depending on what events the student is in.”

The team meets every Thursday, and only one thing is on their mind: Regionals. Teammates have been working together, checking in, and setting up extra times in order to be as prepared as possible for their respective event.

“The Regional was Saturday, March 6,” said coach Jennifer Grutza. “Normally we have an awards ceremony right after the competition, but this year we have to wait until this Saturday the 13th to see what places we won for each event and then to decide if we got enough high scores to be able to advance to State.”

In order to adapt and prepare for Regionals, the team has resorted to weekly practices and check-ins via Zoom. By utilizing breakout rooms, groups can easily work together with their specific partner for the event.

“We have to do a lot more electronic communication,” Sylverne said.” Normally I could pass someone in the hallway and be like ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ but now we need to check in. Our Thursday meetings have been really important to really check in with everybody and make sure everything’s going okay and communicate with them that way.”

The idea of team communication is very important since the ability to work and communicate with one’s partners will play a key role in whether or not a team succeeds. Partners or teams work together to either build projects, take tests, or even just help each other out.

“There’s also that team component,” said captain Shivali Chingre. “I like the feeling of having a team. We all rely on each other, and if someone doesn’t understand something, nine times out of ten another person will understand it, and so then (the team) all works together because they’re usually partner events or team events so you get to rely on your friends. And when I came to high school, I met a lot of my friends through Science Olympiad, and it worked out for the best because we’re still friends.”

Science Olympiad is a very great way to meet new people that are also interested in science. There are 23 different events that people can participate in, and so everyone can find an event that interests them.

“If you like one particular field of science, there’s a 90 percent chance that there’s an event for that,” Chingre said. There was nothing like that at my middle school. So when I came to Grayslake North, I thought it was really cool because it was just different and I really like science.”

Sadly the team did not make State this year, but they look to the future and are determined to make it to State next season. And while competitions are over, Science Olympiad will always remain a fun way to connect with others and see friends.

“Science Olympiad is kind of a really fun way to learn more about science and pick the subject matter that you’re most interested in,” Grutza said.  “You get a chance to learn to work with other people you might not normally see in your classes and just stretch yourself to learn something new.”