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Science Olympiad placed first in state competition

Science Olympiad at the 2024 State Tournament award ceremony.
Science Olympiad at the 2024 State Tournament award ceremony.

Solon’s Science Olympiad team made history April 27 at the state tournament by beating two state records and coming in first place at states. Science Olympiad is a team competition in which students compete against other teams in 23 different categories in various fields of science including astronomy, engineering, biology and more.

Sophomore Rebecca Jacob said that she and her teammates spend a lot of time preparing for Science Olympiad over the school year.

“[Science Olympiad] involves a huge time commitment, most of my hours towards the club are spent studying for events, improving my devices and working with my partners,” Jacob said.

Science Olympiad involves multiple types of events including build events and study events. In build events, students build a device depending on the requirements and bring it to the competition to compete against devices created by other teams. Study events involve taking a test about a certain area of content knowledge.

Junior Riddhima Deb said there are multiple different ways to prepare depending on which event someone is competing in.

“For build events we start building our devices…for study events we just go through a lot of tests and study old materials,” Deb said.

The entire Science Olympiad team goes to states, not just a few individuals. Cherese Fiorina, the head coach of Science Olympiad, said the process to qualify for the team that makes it to states can take years.

“It’s not just a walk in, one year and make the state team kind of thing,” Fiorina said. “It’s very rare for someone to make the state team their first year.”

Fiorina said being at a level contingent with the state team requires years of study. The work put into this club is evident through the success of Solon’s team on both the national and state level. Solon High School placed second in the nation at the 2023 National Competition and has placed in the top three teams eleven times in the country since 1998.

“While competing itself is stressful, it’s also undeniably fun,” Jacob said. “Being a part of this club has helped me grow as a person. When our team sets our heart on something we are able to succeed together.”

Because Solon took first place in states, the team has again qualified for the National Tournament later this May.

“[At nationals] I’m excited to be in the same space as so many other smart people that are really, really good at science and see how well everybody does,” Deb said.

There are 120 teams from schools all over the nation competing this May at the 40th Annual Science Olympiad National Tournament. The tournament will take place from May 24-25 at Michigan State University in Lansing, Michigan.

“I’m looking forward to our team to be able to work together and perform as well as we did at states,” Jacob said.

As nationals are getting closer, Solon’s Science Olympiad Team is practicing three times a week.

“At this point it’s really just seeing what these kids can do,” Fiorina said. “They’ve put the work in, and now it’s seeing how far they can take it and what they do with it.”

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