West Springfield High School Newspaper

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Science Olympiad topples competition

Senior+Will+Cheshire+and+sophomore+Juilen+Berger+prepare+for+the+Towers+Event+in+absence+of+Cheshires+partner%2C+Sung-joon+Won.+Cheshire+and+Won+scored+sixth+in+this+event.
Senior Will Cheshire and sophomore Juilen Berger prepare for the Towers Event in absence of Cheshires partner, Sung-joon Won. Cheshire and Won scored sixth in this event.

Senior Will Cheshire and sophomore Juilen Berger prepare for the Towers Event in absence of Cheshires partner, Sung-joon Won. Cheshire and Won scored sixth in this event.

Frederic Berger

Frederic Berger

Senior Will Cheshire and sophomore Juilen Berger prepare for the Towers Event in absence of Cheshires partner, Sung-joon Won. Cheshire and Won scored sixth in this event.

Sherry Virden, Managing Editor

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Science Olympiad, for the third year in a row, has gone to States. For the second year in a row, they placed in two events.
Science Olympiad is a science, technology, engineering and math-based, nationally-accredited organization that holds some of the top team-based science tournaments in the nation. This is the first year that WS has had two teams; however, only one team is allowed to go to States. There were 38 high school teams registered for competition this year, but only the top two-thirds will qualify for States.
“It was very stressful, especially because most other schools have a lot of support from the administration and the staff, and the team is well-known and reputable, and they’re treated a bit like a sports team, like with the same amount of respect,” said senior Chloe Berger, a leader of one of WS’s teams. “Here, no one really cares.”
Even without the support and funding afforded to schools with multiple, more established teams like Thomas Jefferson or Lake Braddock, our own team managed a solid showing. Seniors Chantal McPhail and Jonathan Wilson placed third in Disease Detectives, with this year’s focus being on food borne illnesses.
“Disease Detectives is a knowledge-based event, so a test was given to determine which team has the greatest knowledge of the event,” said McPhail. “In Disease Detectives, competitors have to apply investigative skills in the scientific study of injury, health, disease, and disability in populations or groups of people.”
Seniors William Cheshire and Sungjoon Won also placed sixth in Towers, a building event. In it, competitors build the lightest tower prior to the competition and see which holds the most weight, judging it on structural soundness and efficiency.
While it’s possible to place highly in many events, that doesn’t guarantee that the overall team will place at all. Only one team, with the highest cumulative score, will go on to represent Virginia at Nationals. WS’s team as a whole placed 16th, up from 17th place last year.
“While we didn’t place the highest, our team did put a lot of effort into their competitions,” said McPhail. “It’s a big commitment and there’s so much dedication in these students. It’s great to see all these students become interested and involved, which is the whole point of Science Olympiad.”
Science Olympiad faced not only a lack of funding as an expensive club, but new members who were also new to high school, and who were unable to have a variety of science classes and electives as a background for the rigorous competition. That meant extra studying for everyone beyond their everyday grind as students and a strong need to be a cohesive team that’s willing to put in the effort.
“I thought we did great,” said Cheshire. “I thought we really came together and we put together a really good show.”

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West Springfield High School Newspaper
Science Olympiad topples competition