RANDOLPH, NJ—The Randolph High School Science Olympiad Team finished strong at a recent competition, placing ninth out of 23 teams at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) on Jan. 6.

Twenty-three teams of approximately 700 students from middle and high schools throughout New Jersey gathered on the campus, located in Newark. Teams competed in various science-based activities related to biology, chemistry, engineering, and physics.

“I think we did very well. We brought home two medals. The tournament was very encouraging for our club,” said Andrew Palmer, a teacher at RHS and coach of the Science Olympiad Team.

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RHS placed second in Experimental Design; fourth in Dynamic Planet; seventh in Geologic Mapping; eight in Machines and Circuit labs, ninth in Chemistry Clue and Protein Modelling; twelfth in Wright Stuff; thirteenth in the Boomilever, Ornithology, and Gravity Vehicle; and twentieth in Write It – Do it.

Twelve juniors and seniors represented RHS in 14 events that tested their abilities in STEM events, ranging from constructing a Boomilever, which is a weight-bearing wood structure, to modeling a protein. These students had been preparing since October to perfect their skills for these events, with team members meeting every Thursday to study, design and construct their specific projects.

The day began at 8:20 a.m. when teams registered and entered the tournament. From 9:30 a.m. to 2:20 p.m., teams participated in the event sessions, followed by award presentations at 3:30 p.m.

Teams that placed among the top ten schools were invited to compete in the statewide Olympiad where they had the option to compete nationally: The students will next compete at the state finals at Middlesex County College in March.

“Right now, I’m taking AP Environmental Science and I feel like I get to apply my knowledge in both my events, Dynamic Planet and Ornithology,” said Charlotte Gu, co-vice president of Science Olympiad. “Succeeding in this tournament was fun because it reaffirms my interests in environmental science.”

Leading up to the competition, team members volunteered to bag at ShopRite for two hours of their time. Over 600 dollars was raised, which helped pay for busing costs and registration fees at NJIT, and for upcoming competitions at Yale and Princeton.

“The tournament was a great success because it secured our entry to the states' competition. In order to go to states a team needs to place top 10 at their region, and we placed 9th,” said Science Olympiad board member, Aliyah Ravin.

“I had two testing events, Dynamic Planet with Hannah Zuschlag and Ornithology with Matt Park, which both involved compiling information into a binder to study for a test we take the day of competition,” Gu explained. “I prepared with my partners through quizzing each other on topics ranging from tectonic plates to bird calls. My partner, Hannah, also took a summer course in Oceanography, which really helped us answer the tough questions on the test.”

The team will next participate at the Yale Invitational on Feb. 1.

Editor’s Note: Jonah Perelman is a student at RHS participating in a journalism program with TAP into Randolph.