Carmel Valley Middle School won first place at the annual middle school Science Olympiad — again!
The Science Olympiad competition was held in Rancho Bernardo High School on Feb. 4 where 1,350 students from 28 different schools competed in 23 different events by organizing the children into 90 different teams.
“This is the largest middle school event in the country,” said Liz Jablecki, the San Diego regional director of the event.
The Science Olympiad organization has been very successful in generating sports like cheers-and-tears excitement during this annual event.
Science Olympians do not have to spot their teammate by the uniform in the lab to pass the test tube, but they all voluntarily wear the same uniform. Unlike sports events, the coaches and coordinators also wear the team uniform.
You do not expect the Science Olympians to run around the ceremony auditorium displaying their team banner or stomp the wooden gallows to “we will, we will rock you” to cheer the crowd, but they do.
Any school can field up to six teams of 15 children in each team. Carmel Valley had a full strength of 90 students prepared for the competition. The competition includes 23 events that are more or less evenly split between test taking, building, and lab work.
Liz Jablecki handed out medals to the top 10 finishers in every event and ribbon recognition to the next 10 finishers. Finally, the top 10 schools were recognized. Carmel Valley Middle School was the 800-pound gorilla in the event.
Apart from winning the competition as a school, they dominated the day by placing often in the top 20. Although 28 schools participated, Carmel Valley won 94 of the 460 medals and ribbons awarded. Of events coached by LiYing Jiang (Forestry) Anjali Madhekar (Meteorology), Charles Shim (Water quality), and Monalisa Chakraborty (Rocks/Minerals), everyone who participated from CVMS were recognized with a medal or a ribbon — a top 25 percent performer.
The head coaches for this year’s team were Cindy Morrin and Erika Pollner. The last time Carmel Valley won this competition was in 2007, which was also the last time Cindy Morrin coordinated the event. Cindy and David Morrin, a mother- father are a coordinator- coach tag team then and now. Their elder son, Chase, then a Bobcat who won the Glider and Trebuchet event in Science Olympiad 2007, is now a Crimson at Harvard University.
Pollner, the co-coordinator of the event has been plotting to win this event for more than a year. “This year, we used a new strategy that had two benefits: we had more Science Olympiad participants than ever before, and we were able to put together a winning team,” Pollner said. Their strategy started with making every student earn a spot on the team. There were over 135 students who wanted to represent Carmel Valley, and coaches held tests to determine the children who showed the most aptitude and enthusiasm. Tristan Pollner, who helped his mom coordinate the event, also won first place in Road Scholar and said, “The best part of Science Olympiad was preparing for the event as a team – also, I enjoyed winning, of course.”