Carmel Valley Middle School wins 2014 Science Olympiad competition

For the third year in a row, the Carmel Valley Middle School (CVMS) Bobcats won first place in the San Diego Science Olympiad competition on Feb 8 at Rancho Bernardo High School. The Bobcats sent six teams (90 kids) to the contest. Each school has creative names for their teams — the Bobcats were scientists: Einstein, Edison, Newton, Copernicus, Tesla and Darwin.

Science Olympiad is a competition in which teams of 15 students compete in 23 science and engineering events ranging from Anatomy, Entomology, Rotor Egg Drop, Heredity, Meteorology, Water Quality, Wheeled Vehicle, etc. This year a record of 101 teams competed from middle and a few elementary schools in San Diego County. Thirty-six schools competed. CVMS managed to secure the first place in 10 of the 23 events. The number of elementary schools has increased every year and this year five Carmel Valley elementary schools participated, including Carmel Del Mar, Ocean Air, Sage Canyon, Solana Pacific and Torrey Hills. Ocean Air placed 6th; Solana Pacific placed 8th; and Torrey Hills placed 9th.

These students began preparing for the big day back in October. The kids met with volunteer coaches (usually parents) for one to two hours per event per week to learn the material, take practice tests, or build the device and do test runs. Each student participates in three or four events. This year a record 160 students applied for Science Olympiad at CVMS, but only 90 were chosen for the teams.

Regional director Liz Jablecki announced that San Diego has the biggest competition in the nation; in fact, in recent years the middle school and high school competitions need to be held on separate dates because of the high number of students participating in the event. Jablecki and others who organize this big event are volunteers who work tirelessly every year to make this happen. The event captains are professionals in their field who put together challenging tests for the students, or spend their time judging. Awards are given to the top 20 teams in each event — 20th to 11th get a ribbon, 10th to 1st receive medals. The awards were presented by school principals and active or retired military.

After a long day of competing, the awards ceremony is the highlight. First there was a brief concert given by the students who were in the event Sound of Music. This event involved a written test, plus the students must build an instrument that actually plays music. What a treat to hear these creative instruments actually carry a tune. Then the announcing of the winners — the top 20 in 23 events began. The roar of the kids cheering in the gym is deafening — just like a sports event. It is great to hear such enthusiasm for science!

An event like this is not possible without CVMS’s three coordinators: Revathi Subramanian, Shuva Mukutnoni, and Julia Yang, and many parent volunteers who spent a lot of time and effort in teaching the CVMS students.