The Palo Alto High School Science Olympiad team ended its season on a successful note with a second-place finish behind Mira Loma High School at the Northern California Science Olympiad state competition on April 16, following their continuation of a seven-year-long series of first-place victories at the Santa Clara regional competition.
“This states was by far the most enjoyable of my years on the team,” Science Olympiad captain and senior Sylvia Targ said. “The culmination of all our hard work is always stressful, but this year it was also a highly positive experience due to our team’s strong camaraderie.”
The team aspires to win the state competition next year, which would qualify them to compete at the Science Olympiad National Tournament. The last time they qualified was in 2013, placing 16th out of 60 competing teams from across the country.
Although the “green team,” analogous to a varsity team, will lose half its members next year, the members hope to build an even stronger group with the incoming members.
“We’re definitely losing some very strong people,” Chloe Hong, a sophomore on the green team, said. “That said, we’re also looking at some very strong white team members and prospective freshmen who may rise up the ranks … by looking at the records, it’s apparent that we’ve been making steady progress, even with the rise of new competition.”
The Science Olympiad team has placed second at the state-level competition over the past five years, with the exception of 2013, and they hope to break this cycle by implementing new changes to the management of the team.
“We’re thinking about adopting some tactics that other successful teams have used, such as implementing a mentor system and attending invitationals,” Hong said. “Given that the Paly Science Olympiad team has already been doing consistently well as is against teams that use these resources, I feel like there’s a lot that we could easily improve, and I’m sure we’ll do even better once we add some new aspects to our already pretty successful strategy.”
Although the team members treasure their achievements, their most valued takeaway from their Science Olympiad experiences are often the friendships they are able to create.
“Science Olympiad has been one the best part of my high school experience,” Targ said. “The opportunities afforded to learn from and teach to like-minded teammates are unparalleled, and I couldn’t dream of a better team to end my Science Olympiad journey with.”