The Science Olympiad team excelled at the University of Michigan competition


Kristy Butler

A group picture of the Science Olympiad team at the University of Michigan competition.

On the weekend of Feb. 18, the Science Olympiad team found themselves running across the University of Michigan campus to get to each of their competitions.

Going up against 60 different teams at this competition, the Science Olympiad team performed exceptionally well. Sophomore Aiden Platt and senior Summer Wu got fourth place in the Chemistry Lab, and Summer and senior Cixian Yang got second place in Environmental Chemistry.

“When we found out [about our placements], we had just gotten back from Ann Arbor,” Summer said. “We were putting stuff away in our build room, and that was when we found out about the second place that we achieved in Environmental Chemistry. That was a really wholesome team moment where everyone was all there together to celebrate it because we weren’t able to make it to the award ceremony.”

At this past competition, Summer competed in four different events: Chemistry Lab, Environmental Chemistry, Remote Sensing, and Fermi Questions. With hours of practice and hard work with her team, she and her teammates were able to excel throughout the whole competition.

Having always had an interest in science throughout her life, Summer joined Science Olympiad to further her knowledge of her favorite subject. She also sees this extracurricular helping her in school as well.

[Science Olympiad] makes me understand [that] learning is a never-ending process.

— Cixian Yang

“I think the big benefit of Science Olympiad is that it ties into your classes,” Summer said. “For example, by doing the chemistry event in Science Olympiad, that has helped in classes like AP Chemistry and it’s also vice versa as well, where the class helps with the event too.”

The competition at U of M was one of the more difficult competitions that the Science Olympiad team has gone to. With 60 competitors, the team was put in a high-stress situation. Sometimes, however, moments like these bring the team even closer together.

Summer explained that she enjoyed the team dinners that the team goes on after competitions. At this specific competition, Cixian said that she truly enjoyed experiencing the U of M campus.

I went to quite a few places after my competitions,” Cixian said, “such as the Graffiti Alley, Museum of Art, Burton Memorial Tower, the Law Quad, bubble tea and cookie shops, Totoro Sushi, Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, and The Diag. I love all those amazing places, and it was indeed the best Science Olympiad invitational I have ever been to. Most importantly, Summer and I met our old friend Joy after 10 months, and I was so excited and happy to see her as a college freshman and hear her stories and school life at U of M.”

Through this experience, Cixian shows how the competition itself is not the only thing she can take away from the weekend. Exploring the new environment left her with memories and stories she can share with her peers. And while she enjoyed her endeavors through the U of M campus, Cixian’s favorite part of the competition—and Science Olympiad as a whole—are the feelings that she has when she is with the team. She loves to immerse herself in a subject that she adores, and she loves hearing the cheers of her teammates during the award ceremonies.

Moments such as those have brought her closer to her teammates and have given her new memories. Cixian has also discovered new interests as possible career paths through her time in Science Olympiad.

“[Science Olympiad] makes me understand [that] learning is a never-ending process,” Cixian said. “It also helps me to explore my interests and figure out whether they are right for me or not. For example, I started doing astronomy this year, and even though I don’t have any achievements in this event, I found it to be fascinating, and it motivates me to do as much as I can for it.”

All that was accomplished at this competition would not have been possible without hours of practice with the team. Aiden explains how their preparation includes practice labs, testing after school, and revisiting past Science Olympiad tests.

Aiden, much like Summer and Cixian, joined Science Olympiad because of his piqued interest in the sciences. As a sophomore, he is already looking toward the future, and he believes that joining this team was definitely in his best interest.

“As someone who wants to pursue science as a career,” Aiden said, “[Science Olympiad] lets me learn more about different parts of science that I might not have looked into before, and it looks good on a college resume.”

While the future is important to consider, Aiden is also submerged in the countless memories being made right now in high school. Learning the placements that the team achieved at the U of M competition will never be forgotten.

“Getting fourth place blew my mind because it is one of the more competitive competitions with 60 total teams reaching from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio,” Aiden explained. “I was pleased to see that the preparation finally paid off, and I was beyond thrilled.”