Science Olympiad Takes on State
By Edina Hadzic
A coach bus sped along the Illinois interstate, filled with high school students teeming with anticipation and perhaps a little bit of anxiety. Passing through cornfields and not much else, Northside College Prep’s Science Olympiad team was on its way to the Illinois State Tournament at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
To qualify, the team competed at a series of invitationals across the Chicagoland area against other local high school teams. “Despite our rivalries, it’s really fun to go to competitions with other CPS schools because we band together to cheer each other on,” said Tallulah Cartalucca, Adv. 910. For a team to progress to State Finals, they must place top five overall at Regionals. This year, Northside’s Science Olympiad placed third overall at Regionals, which was hosted by IIT, acquiring the team’s bid for state and ranking the highest it ever has at the competition.
Science Olympiad consists of multiple STEM related events that students participate in. These events include subjects focused in biology, anatomy, physics, and more. Typically, each member of a school’s team is assigned to three or four of these events, which they spend the season studying for and competing in. Students work with one to two other team members to prepare for these events. At competitions, pairs of students from each school take tests in their assigned topics or bring objects they have built to be tested in front of a panel of judges (this occurs in events that fall under the “build” category). For each event, schools are ranked based on a point system determined by test scores and the quality of constructed pieces. The higher that pairs place in their individual events, the more points a school’s team receives for overall ranking at competition.
At State Finals this year, Northside managed to place top five in most events, with first place wins from Georgia Bates, Adv. 910, with Zoe Cloud, Adv. 908, in Fossils, and Resty Fufunan, Adv. 007, with Selim Onay, Adv. 106, in Geological Mapping. Overall, NCP’s team won fourth place in its division, a stellar performance for such a large-scale competition. “Our goal for State was to beat some of the CPS teams that scored above us at Regionals,” said Cartalucca. “We beat Whitney, and we placed only eight points behind Payton, so I feel like we did pretty well.”