The pandemic has caused various extracurricular activities or events to be canceled, but this isn’t the case for the Quarry Lane Science Olympiad team, a school club that competes in various events across all fields of science such as biology, chemistry, etc. Unlike other science competitions, Science Olympiad is a team activity and each event requires 2-3 people. As surprising as it may sound, the team was most active this school year and the team’s performance exceeded the performance of previous seasons. The reason for this significant transformation is that most of the Science Olympiad competitions became online as in-person competitions were no longer an option.
Although the online competitions had disadvantages like technical difficulties and few hands-on activities, going digital competing even more accessible for the QLS Science Olympiad team. Before COVID-19, traditional competitions required transportation, and the number of seats per invitational was limited. These factors made it difficult for the team to participate in competitions besides the regional ones.
Because of the competition’s online format, the QLS Science Olympiad team competed in a total of 7 competitions hosted by schools from all over the country including institutions from Connecticut and New Jersey. This is the greatest number of competitions that the school team has ever participated in a given school year as in previous years the school only took part in 1 competition (the Bay Area Regional) each season. Competing in invitationals before the regional allowed the team to be more prepared ever than before.
Even though the team did not meet in person, the team members got to know their partners in their events by using platforms such as Zoom to practice online tests together. These efforts ultimately paid off because the team won 7 medals during this season, which is the greatest number of medals that the QLS team ever received in a year. The rigor of these state and national level invitationals also helped the QLS team to significantly improve its rank by 8 places in the regional competition within a year, beating half of the other teams.
The QLS team still has a long way to go when it comes to qualifying for states. Science Olympiad coach Mr. Hewes, however, is still pleased by the results. “Considering that we had few opportunities for team bonding this year,” he told The Roar,“ I am surprised by the level of participation that I am seeing. The team has the potential to be a contender in the coming years.”
Picture Credit : Moritz Kindler- Unsplash547