Science Olympiad set for State


Mohammed Hijaz (11) and Payal Bhatt (11) study for their event after school on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Out of 15 other teams, Lake Central finished in first place at Regionals on Saturday, Feb. 27. Photo by: Ruth Chen

Cassidy Niewiadomski, Author

On Saturday, Feb. 27, the Science Olympiad team placed first at Regionals out of the 15 teams in its division. With the lowest score of 62 points, the team qualified for the State tournament, which is marked for Saturday, March 19 at Indiana University Bloomington.

“This year was more intense because up until Saturday morning, we thought only three teams got to go to State out of our regional [division], but they changed it the morning of where five teams got to go to State. We were all freaking out, but in the end it worked out for us. We were still up against some really good schools this weekend,” Samantha McCuaig (12) said.

Aside from advancing to State, the primary goal was for students to experience a fun day while practicing science.

“I love the atmosphere because it’s competitive, but at the same time, everyone’s there to help each other in a sense. I mean there is a level where I can’t help past a point because I want to win, but at the same time, we’re all there to learn. It’s supposed to be a learning community. You get to meet new people and make new friends. It’s exciting, especially depending on the events you’re in. If you’re in a build event, which is where you have to build something and perform a task with it, that’s really exciting because everyone gets to watch you. If you do well, they all clap for you. It’s just really cool,” McCuaig said.

This weekend was not the first time the club took home first place at Regionals, nor will it be its first time to make an appearance at State.

“I think teams all over the state kind of know who we are now, not only because of Regionals,  but because we placed on stage at State back to back. We’ve been up on stage at State, so everyone in the state kind of knows who we are and that we’re a good team. Going into State, it feels pretty good to know that other people feel intimidated by you, but you’re also kind of scared because they’re all going to work hard to beat you now. Hopefully we can get in the top two and move on to Nationals. As a team, I’m proud that we’ve maintained our fourth place [title] because I don’t think LC ever placed before my sophomore year at State. Now we’ve been there back to back for the third year,” Jay Chopra (12) said.

Throughout the day, there was a total of 23 events available in the C Division, along with three trial events. Student could pick from various events such as Air Trajectory, Astronomy, Bridge Building, Crime Busters, Food Science and Meteorology.  

“My events were Game On, which is a coding event where they give you a scientific theme and you have to code a game that relates to that theme. This time at Regionals it was space exploration, so we coded a game where you’re on a rocket ship going to the moon, and you have to make it to the moon without crashing in asteroids. I did Cell Biology, which is in-depth stuff about cells and biology. [I also did] Disease Detectives, which is figuring out what causes diseases and how they spread. My fourth event was Experimental Design, which is where you had 50 minutes, and they just give you a bunch of materials, and you have to create an experiment,” Chopra said.

Science Olympiad is not a club for the faint-hearted. It requires intense researching and experimenting. Luckily for the team, hard work is beginning to shine through the many nights spent after school.

“Hard work is definitely what got us here. I’m here almost every day after school until five. I’m building. I’m learning. I’m teaching others. It’s definitely a good feeling to take first at Regionals. It gives us confidence going into State, since our goal is to make Nationals. We haven’t made that goal yet, but we’re working towards it. I would definitely say that if you work hard, you’ll see the reward in the end, even though sometimes you don’t get it right away,” McCuaig said.