Science Olympiad team debuts at second-annual invitational

Sacred+Heart+Greenwich%27s+Science+Olympiad+team+made+their+debut+at+the+second-annual+Sacred+Heart+University+Science+Olympiad+Invitational.

Dr. Fabienne Wheeler

Sacred Heart Greenwich's Science Olympiad team made their debut at the second-annual Sacred Heart University Science Olympiad Invitational.

For the first time, six Sacred Heart Greenwich Upper School students traveled to the 2020 Sacred Heart University Science Olympiad Invitational January 25.  The students who represented Sacred Heart were freshmen Daphne Hartch, Kristin Morrow, Katrina Cheng-Slater, Gabrielle Wheeler, and sophomores Fiona Powers and Angélique Wheeler.  These members of Sacred Heart’s Science Olympiad team, a student-run club, competed against other Division C schools in the New York and Connecticut areas.  The invitational provided a chance for the team to prepare for upcoming competitions and further their scientific knowledge and proficiency. 

Located on Sacred Heart University’s West Campus in Fairfield, Connecticut, the annual invitational includes 16 competitive events and hosts 42 Science Olympiad teams.  Sacred Heart’s Science Olympiad team competed in 11 events focusing on Astronomy, Designer Genes, Detector Building, Disease Detectives, Dynamic Planet, Ornithology, Machines, Code Busters, Circuit Lab, Experimental Design, and Fossils.

Claire Moore ’22

Daphne believes that the invitational was important to the improvement and success of the team.

“This was an invitational, meaning it is an opportunity to practice and gain experience for the Connecticut Science Olympiad, held in April, and for the team to understand what the real one will feel like,” Daphne said.  “Personally, I need further preparation in applying certain difficult equations on the written exam.  I also need to research my topics more thoroughly.  Overall, the invitational was very constructive for the team.”

To prepare for this academically rigorous competition, the members of the Science Olympiad team met with their partners to assemble notes, take practice tests, and build their devices.  They also individually studied information on the official Science Olympiad website.

Angélique, co-captain of the Science Olympiad team alongside her sister Gabrielle, oversees the team’s preparation for tournaments. 

“As a team, we are very flexible with scheduling because all our members balance Science Olympiad with sports and other activities,” Angélique said.  “Since Science Olympiad is very partner-based and doesn’t require a lot of work with the whole team, this system works.” 

Science Olympiad is a STEM competition in which teams of students participate in 23 events pertaining to various scientific fields, according to soinc.org.  Events range from Anatomy and Physiology to Forensics and can be split into three categories, study, build, and lab, according to blog.collegevine.com.

Sophomore Angélique Wheeler received a gold medal for her work in the Disease Detective and Etymology category.  Courtesy of Dr. Fabienne Wheeler

Fiona reflected on the academic growth she experienced as a result of their events at the competition. 

“My favorite aspect of the Science Olympiad team is the ability to learn new science not taught in my science class, such as water quality or ornithology,” Fiona said.  “At the competition, I was able to participate in Experimental Design, Dynamic plant, Water quality, Boomilever, and Ornithology.  Each event is either a test on a binder full of information or a hands-on experiment.”

Research shows that a STEM education leads to lifelong benefits, such as the ability to understand and solve complex problems, and to meet the demands of the world’s workforce, according to ed.gov.  As Science Olympiad concentrates on the development of STEM skills, in addition to competency in research and guesswork, and team building, it is also a valuable learning tool for students, according to affinitymagazine.us.

“Science Olympiad adds variety to Sacred Heart’s STEM program.  The event categories are topics not typically discussed in classes or are more in-depth studies of specifics sciences covered in class.  This allows team members to explore interests and discover passions in features of science at a deeper level, and this also includes the competitive aspect of Science Olympiad,” Angélique said.  “As captains of the team, my sister Gabrielle and I hope that the team will continue to do well in competitions and that we’ll have enough interest to start a second team next year.  We are also grateful to have strong faculty support from Mrs. Bensen and Mr. Morrow.” 

Featured Image Courtesy of Dr. Fabienne Wheeler