By Leo Chan
Purple Post Staff Writer

Science is the study of nature conducted through empirical observations and controlled experiments. In Science Olympiad, it is the students who act as scientists. Much like scientists, they explore different possibilities, gather evidence, and make new discoveries. But, unlike scientists, they compete against each other to win awards. Yet, even in Science Olympiad, everyone’s a winner on the road of discovery.

So, what is Science Olympiad? Well, Science Olympiad is a team competition with 23 different events that focus on different kinds of scientific studies. The events cover topics that range from astronomy to mechanic engineering to even biochemistry (among others). In order to compete within each event, students must conduct research and study extensively beforehand. 

This year Classical students are competing in the 2020 Brown Science Olympiad Tournament and the 2020 Rhode Island Science Olympiad (RISO). The Brown Science Olympiad is held in February for all schools within New England, while RISO is held in April only for Rhode Island students. During the tournament, students will be competing in teams of two throughout the 23 different rounds of this year. The list of events usually remains consistent from year-to-year but every year the League incorporates one or two new events. 

Going back to 1990, Classical has enjoyed both a comfortable winning streak and an honorable reputation within the Science Olympiad community. In fact, in an almost-mythical accomplishment, Classical scientists were champions from 1990 to 2000, holding the top ranking for 10 years. However, Cranston West beat Classical in the 2001 Rhode Island Science Olympiad. Yet Classical students soon reemerged in 2002, one year later, and the school won the gold medal for another 8 years. After this startling success, Classical scientists met their biggest obstacle on the way to receiving the gold: Barrington High School. Since 2010 (and as of now, November 1, 2019) Barrington has remained in first place for the RISO. 

But this time, Classical scientists plan to launch what will hopefully be an epic comeback. This year, captains Lucero Rios and Betty Hasse intend to foster what they call a “reformation” of Classical’s Science Olympiad team. According to Rios, there weren’t many meetings in the past, leading to disorganization and a lack of preparation. For example, there were only one or two meetings in the previous year, leading to a lack of progress and poor achievement. This may have in part led to their performance in the championship of 2018, where the team only received one gold medal and placed 9th overall. To combat this problem, Rios and Hasse have decided to hold team meetings every Monday to better monitor studying and progress.

This is a very important aspect of the Science Olympiad and is thus central to the team’s successes or failures. Each member is required to conduct their study mainly during their personal time. This year, though, the captains have taken additional measures to ensure that the members can positively conduct their research. Also, as all events are conducted in groups of two, teammates will have collaborative conversations with each other throughout the year. And finally, in addition to the meetings every Monday, students can also have discussions with the whole team about more ways to better utilize their studying time and improve the quality of their projects.

Photo courtesy of George Adams, Purple Post Photographer

In Science Olympiad, every Classical student has the opportunity to become a scientist, and thus have the opportunity to explore, research, and learn about the world around them. It encourages them, through enjoyable yet intense competition, to become further involved in the science community. Hopefully, this year Classical will open a new page in the annals of Science Olympiad history.

Science Olympiad meets from 2:55-4:00 in rooms 256 and 260.