Science Olympiad team gains recognition at Connecticut State Tournament 


Gabrielle Wheeler '23

The Sacred Heart Greenwich Science Olympiad Team emerges with the Best New Team Award at the Connecticut State Tournament.

The Sacred Heart Greenwich Science Olympiad team showcased their skills at the 2021 Connecticut State Competition March 6 and March 20, winning the Best New Team Award.  Last year, COVID-19 protocols prevented students from competing in the tournament.  With an adjusted virtual format this year, freshmen Sophia Sigro and Lindsay Taylor, sophomores Katrina Cheng-Slater, Josephine Orr, Abigail Searles, and Gabrielle Wheeler, and juniors Alexandra Hannett, Annie O’Connor, Jessica Thompson, and Angélique Wheeler were able to participate in the competition.    

Annie O’Connor ’22 competes in an invitational with her partner Josephine Orr ’23 over Zoom.  Courtesy of Angélique Wheeler ’22

Science Olympiad began in 1984 with only 12 events covering basic science skills, which have expanded into this year’s 23 diverse topics, according to  The organization encourages students to explore their scientific interests outside the classroom.  Annie, a student in Sacred Heart’s Science Research program, chose to join the Science Olympiad team due to her interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and desire to learn more about scientific fields.

“Science Olympiad has taught me more about important global issues like public health,” Annie said.  “The skills that I have learned from Science Olympiad have enhanced my understanding of science-related topics, and inspired me to pursue those topics outside of the classroom.”

The Science Olympiad team attracts students who have interests in a wide variety of disciplines.  Students compete in events covering various fields of STEM, including study topics that require students to retain outside knowledge.  This year’s team competed in the Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry Lab, Circuit Lab, Codebusters, Designer Genes, Disease Detectives, Dynamic Planet, Experimental Design, Forensics, Fossils, GeoLogic Mapping, Machines, Ornithology, Protein Modeling, and Water Quality events.  Usually, the team also participates in the engineering topics, which require students to build devices and test them at the competitions.  This year, however, the team was unable to take part in the engineering topics as the devices are untestable over an online platform.  Angélique, one of the team’s co-captains, is looking forward to competing in both engineering and study topics next year.

“Last year, I competed in Sounds of Music and Detector Building which were physics-based engineering topics,” Angélique said.  “This year, we didn’t do any build events because they weren’t required at invitationals or the state tournament, but next year we will resume the more engineering style topics.  I like building topics because they allow for more creativity and are a more hands-on way to learn.”

At the tournament, Angélique and Annie competed together in the Disease Detectives topic.  Disease Detectives is an epidemiology topic that tests participants on their knowledge of public health techniques.

“My favorite topic for Science Olympiad was Disease Detectives,” Annie said.  “This topic covers everything from COVID-19 to food-borne illnesses.  I most enjoy this topic because I have learned so much and it is so interesting.  It has helped me to better understand global health issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic.  I most enjoy competing with partners in Science Olympiad.  It allows me to collaborate with students from different grades, and I love learning new things from them and about the topic I am competing in.”

The team virtually attended eight invitationals from October to February to prepare for the state tournament in March, competing against students from California and Texas over Zoom.  Prior to COVID-19, the team would travel to competitions hosted at college campuses and engage in the events throughout the whole day.  The transition to a virtual format this year allowed students to compete in addition to participating in other extracurricular activities, such as athletics and theatre.  Additionally, students could communicate with their partners over Zoom and FaceTime while they were in their own homes.  While the online format had its benefits, the team looks forward to in-person competitions in the future. 

“There are a couple of perks of virtual competitions,” Angélique said.  “For example, we were able to attend more invitationals this year because we did not have to travel.  However, I missed being able to visit the campuses during the invitationals and not being able to be with the whole team in person.”

This year, the Science Olympiad team met after school twice a week, practicing together for two hours each week.  The first meeting of the week is when the captains discuss upcoming invitationals and important dates.  During the second weekly meeting, the team spends 90 minutes taking tests with their partners over Zoom.

The Science Olympiad team adjusted to this year’s virtual format, competing in invitationals over Zoom.  Gabrielle Wheeler ’23

“At meetings, we usually go over the week’s announcements, which invitationals we are planning on attending, and making sure people are in contact with their partners,” Angélique said.  “It was a little bit different this year since competitions were on Zoom and we competed virtually.  Science Olympiad topics are done in pairs, and for some topics by three people.  Team members work with their partner(s) for a topic to come up with a study plan and practice.”

The Sacred Heart Science Olympiad team brought home a trophy for the Best New Team Award at the Connecticut State Tournament.  In addition, they placed in the top 20 teams for five of their events, including Codebusters, Designer Genes, Experimental Design, Fossils, and Protein Modeling.  Angélique appreciates the team’s recognition and is looking forward to next year’s season. 

“I was really happy because it was recognition for all the hard work that our team had put in this year,” Angélique said.  “Since none of us were seniors this year, we all get to continue on with the same topics and delve deeper into them.  I’m looking forward to working with everyone again next year and competing in person.”

Featured Image by Gabrielle Wheeler ’23