CHS Science Olympiad Team heading to Nationals

Nationals will be held virtually on May 22

The Clinton High School Science Olympiad Team has earned themselves a bid to Nationals after taking home First Place at State on March 20. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s competition was held virtually – Nationals, originally scheduled to take place at Arizona State University on May 22, will also be virtual.

Head Coach Terri O’Shields said typically for State the students will compete in about 20 events with a team of 15 students. Each event, she said, usually takes two or three students to compete and lasts over the course of an entire day. Because of COVID, State competition was limited to 12 events with the possibility of up to 15 students on each team.

During competition, students perform in every area of science, ranging from anatomy, stars, identification events (birds, fossils, etc.), chemistry labs and forensics.

“Typically in a given year, we would have building events where we actually have to build things like a car that’ll run a track or stop at a certain point or a structure that would hold weight. Those events were not part of our State Competition because it was too hard to do those virtually. Most of our events this year were knowledge events, identification events, lab or process events,” O’Shields said.

With Nationals only two months away, the team has already began preparing – National competition will have an additional 11 events that the team will need to practice. O’Shields noted that at Nationals there will be building events, which she said will be interesting since the students will be competing virtually.

On competition day, there will be 120 schools competing and O’Shields said the hard work the team puts in is hard to quantify. The team usually practices every Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. and occasionally during the week.

“It’s a pretty tight-knit group that works incredibly hard. It’s hard to quantify what they do,” she said.

O’Shields also gave a shout out to the numerous volunteers who help the team.

“Lots of people in the community who volunteer time and support events. It’s just amazing to see a room full of kids learning – it’s an incredible experience.”

Science Olympiad first started in the 1980s and Clinton schools have taken part since its inception with multiple wins under their belt.

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