American Wins Big at Bay Area Regional Science Olympiad Competition
American High School’s very own Science Olympiad team was awarded 8th place (out of 34 competitors) at the Bay Area Regional Science Olympiad competition this past weekend.
Students from the team prepared and competed in at least one event and some of the team members were awarded individual awards, in addition to the overall school award.
Junior Diane Zhou, co-captain of the team, won a silver medal in Boom-i-lever with her partner Diana Huang.
“When [we] realized we had won, we were very excited. I felt proud about winning American High School’s first medal in a build event. Last year, we forfeited all but two of our build events, because we started preparing for the contest late and did not have time to cover all of the build events,” Zhou said. “To be able to not only show up to a build event with something looking polished, but also win a silver medal for it boosted my my morale and I think my team’s morale as well.”
To ensure that they would be well-prepared in all their events, students, with the aid of their coach Mr. Licht, started practicing for their events in late October.
“My preparation for the first two written events was mostly covering each topic included on the rule sheet and learning the material really well,” freshman Saisha Agrawal said. “This included getting familiar with the different electrical equipment and performing simple experiments related to electricity. After that, I tried to do as many practice tests as possible to further reinforce my knowledge of the material and familiarize myself with the questions types.”
While the whole team practiced and perfected their events before the competition, they still could not escape the pre-competition butterflies.
“I think the hardest part was competing in front of so many people for my build event. There’s quite some pressure as people are looking at you while you do your event,” sophomore Vidya Pingali said, after placing second place in Experimental Design with her partners Aswini Krishnan and Diana Huang.
Even though the team worked rigorously and individually for months, they attribute their success to their coach and mentor Mr. Licht.
“My teammates and I cannot thank Mr. Licht enough. He took care of all the logistics and made sure we had all the paperwork done in order to be able to compete,” Zhou said. “Despite his own busy schedule, he always made himself available to help us in our events and to give us advice.”
Even though American High School’s Science Olympiad team was only recently formed, their hard work and determination paid off.
“When Diana and I just got started preparing for this event, we never would have imagined that two girls like us, who have rarely ever worked with construction tools such as saws, knives, drills or sandpaper, could produce a winning boomilever,” Zhou said. “There is something very special about winning for something that you have built with your own hands.”
List of Winners:
Diane Huang & Dian Zhou – 2nd Place (Boom-i-lever)
Aswini Krishnan, Diane Huang, & Vidya Pingali – 2nd Place (Experimental Design)
Melissa Chen & Trisha Agrawal – 3rd Place (Forensics)
Levina Lin & Saisha Agrawal – 4th Place (Geologic Mapping)
Daniel Ma, Emily Wang, Garima Raheja, Geralyn Moore, Pooja Sakthivel, and Sweta Kinger