Checking in with Sci-O!

By Marleigh Canter

Last month, 48 teams from the Lower Hudson Valley came to Byram Hills High School to compete in the Science Olympiad Regional Competition. According to Mr. Horowitz, “Science Olympiad is a competition where students compete in about 25 different events in all fields of science; biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, engineering, and  all STEM events.”

The regional competition has been hosted by Byram Hills for the past few years. Mr. Horowitz is the Lower Hudson Valley Regional Coordinator which means he “controls Science Olympiad for all of Rockland, Westchester, and Putnam Counties.” At the regional competition, students competed in all different types of events including exams, labs, building, and engineering. Mr. Horowitz reports that “some of the watchable events were the Boomilever, in which students built an apparatus that could hold a certain amount of weight, mission impossible, which we placed first in, a Rube Goldberg creation to complete a task, where a mouse trap was used to ultimately power a vehicle, a challenge that required students to build something out of duct tape, and even plane flying.” The competition implemented all different disciplines of science through creative labs and exams which welcomed everyone’s strengths. After the Regional Competition, the top five or six teams from our region will go on to compete in the State Competition in Syracuse. From there, the teams will compete nationally in May.

Originally, at Byram Hills there was only a Middle School Science Olympiad Team; however, 11 years ago Mr. Horowitz brought it up to the high school. Now, our team has around 30 members who compete in a wide variety of events, which cover multiple forms of science. Jonah Schwam, a senior, said that he has really “enjoyed doing Science Olympiad for so long because it takes science out of a purely academic context and really lets you focus on enjoying the science for the sake of science. The events are always changing, the community is super fun, and the competition is always adequately engaging and challenging.”

Sophomore John D’Avanzo, recalled that the event was “really fun,” and further explained, “We got here early in the morning and we all just kind of hung out and worked on our events until it was time to actually compete, and it was a really good time. I participated in three events; Code Busters, where we use cryptology to crack different kinds of codes; Sounds of Music, where we constructed an instrument as well as took a test on the physics of sound; and Forensics where you perform an hour-long laboratory procedure.” Jen Mui, a sophomore, said the event “was a blast” and enjoyed competing with her friends. Finally, Jordyn Bernard, another sophomore who competed in Geological Mapping, Code Busters, and Sounds of Music said that she “loved being able to participate in an exciting and challenging environment.”