Improved Science Olympiad team built on chemistry


Photo courtesy of DAWN DAZA

Brahmas competing at the California Institute of Technology ranked sixth place.

Ted Yarmoski, Asst. Opinion Editor

After being one of six teams from the Los Angeles County to qualify for the Southern California State Science Olympiad competition at the California Institute of Technology, Diamond Bar High School’s Science Olympiad team ended their season with a sixth place overall showing.

This was one of the highest placements the DBHS team has ever had, according to senior co-captain Pablo Martinez.

Freshman Ryan Real and sophomore Sean Ru placed second in helicopters and third in towers, respectively.

Additionally, sophomore Jay Siri and senior Melody Zhao came in fourth in astronomy while sophomore Ryan Lou and senior Tanya Yang placed fifth in ecology.

However, the team will not move on to the national competition since a first place team ranking is required for qualification.

“The team performed phenomenally well,” Martinez said. “Usually we place in the double digits [so] getting sixth was a huge achievement.”

The competition consisted of around 30 unique events. During engineering-based events, competitors are tasked with constructing a specific structure or contraption which can range from balsa wood towers to an intricate machine.

In knowledge-based categories, students are given either a multiple choice or written test on a specific subject such as genetics, earth science or thermodynamics. Most members of the team competed in three to four categories.

Since last October, the team has met every week to discuss and prepare for competitions. To prepare, they put in over 30 hours of group meetings, not including independent studying of the various subjects which amounted to hundreds of hours for some.

“[Science Olympiad] basically requires you to look for the knowledge yourself. Whether it’s renting a college textbook or perusing over Khan Academy videos, you need to put in the time,” senior co-captain Yang said.

According to Yang, working with your partners in cooperative events is essential in doing well in competitions because each member of the team plays an important role.

The close interactions between team members also strengthens relationships and forges friendships.

“The most rewarding part is meeting and getting to know friends,” Martinez said. “Yes, the medals are nice, but medals are just medals.”