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Season Preview: Science Olympiad

Wyatt Zwik

By Divitya Vakil

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Niles West offers hundreds of clubs, and one of these more well-known academic teams here at West is Science Olympiad. Composed of 23 study and building events in topics ranging from anatomy and forensics to bridge building and robot arm, Science Olympiad is a competitive and engaging club students can take part in.

Last year, the team placed third at regionals and qualified for the state competition. Although the team did not place quite as high as in previous years, they won the state Spirit Award for the first time in Niles West history, and they’re aiming to do even better this year.

According to senior and varsity team member Michael Rohn, Science Olympiad has shaped his life and high school experience. He has high hopes for this year’s team and how far they can really get.

“[Having competed at Parkview in middle school], this will be my sixth and final year in my Science Olympiad career. It has been a dream of mine to make it to the national tournaments. This requires you to place at least second in Illinois, which is arguably the most competitive state in the program. I feel if the stars align and we truly focus our sights, anything is possible,” Rohn said.

Sophomore Daniel Cudzich shared his thoughts on how he feels the club will perform this year.

“To be honest, I don’t think the team will be at its absolute best this year. A lot of good seniors graduated last year, especially Osama [Esmail], our saving grace,” Cudzich said. “The current sophomore year is rather strong, and we’re hoping that they and some of the juniors will make a good varsity team, especially with building events like Wind Power. I haven’t had a good chance to see who the freshmen are this year.”

Sponsors Elizabeth Ramseyer and Michael Boll had nothing but good things to say about the team’s efforts.

“The team is a perennial powerhouse as it has qualified for state competition almost every year of its history and when at state, places in the top 20 or better. Last season the team earned the state spirit award for the first time in its history.  [It was] quite an honor,” Ramseyer said.

“This year we are going to work harder to make sure we get new members to join us.  We are also going to work on making sure that our varsity team and junior varsity team collaborate more and share what they have learned with each other.  Strengthening our weakest members of the team will only make us stronger,” Boll said.

While Science Olympiad may seem daunting due to the depth of knowledge needed, new members are always welcomed and encouraged to join, even if they have absolutely no experience or knowledge on a particular topic.

“We love new members. Simple as that. Oftentimes you need new blood in order to redirect the team and bring some new benefits that the team lacked in the past season. It’s an especially crowded year for seniors, so no one is guaranteed a [varsity] slot this time around, thus the spots are open to all! New members often bring a work ethic that is better than past varsity members, so it’s all up for grabs,” Rohn said. “Truly anyone can join if they demonstrate that they want to succeed and are taking visible steps to make that a reality.”

Meetings take place every Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in room 3420, so be sure to stop by later this week to check it out and see if it’s the club for you.

Contributions made by Sonja Malek.

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