By: Alekya Rajanala
Congratulations are due to MSJ students for placing second at the Bay Area Regional Science Olympiad (BARSO) on Feb. 19, 2011 and advancing to the State level. Thirty-five students from MSJ, divided into three teams, competed at the tournament hosted by Pleasanton’s Foothill High School, in which one MSJ team ranked second against 25 other high schools in the Bay Area.
According to the BARSO website, Science Olympiad aims to “improve the quality of science education, increase student interest in science, and provide recognition for outstanding achievement in science education.” The competition consists of 23 different events, which fall into three main categories: exam-based (students answer questions that test their knowledge in a particular subject), engineering-based (students construct a device designed to complete a certain task), and hands-on (students perform lab experiments and solve problems on-the-spot). Students usually participate in three to five events working in groups of two or three people. Examples of popular past topics include Anatomy and Physiology, Helicopters, Ecology, Forensics, and Experimental Design. Participants from MSJ prepared for nearly four months for the annual one-day competition.
Junior Captain Merry Mou said, “Science Olympiad is more ‘inclusive’ than competitions like Science Bowl (which require more preparation). We try to make sure that everyone interested can join because it’s one of the few academic competitions that anyone can participate in.”
MSJ has been a consistently strong contender at Science Olympiad. They took third place last year and earned 18 medals in 16 events this year, rivaling first place winner Palo Alto High School. “I am very proud of [the students] for working hard and doing so well,” said Science Teacher and Coach Lisa Ishimine. “I am especially proud because they organized it themselves and trained themselves, without much help from the coaches.” The other two coaches were Science Teacher Julie Raymond and Parent Bei Shen.
The following students will progress to the State level tournament on April 9, 2011: Sophomores Margaret Shen and Kevin Chen, Juniors Lakshmi Subbaraj, Jeremy Pathman, Jay Shah, Bolun Liu, Merry Mou, I-Ling Chiang, Yicheng Sun, and Siddarth Sen, and Seniors Kevin Wu, Roger Chen, Eugene Choi, Indu Subbaraj, and Alvin Mao. “We are excited for the opportunity and are looking forward to States,” Mou said. Even though the other MSJ teams will not continue to the State level, Mou is optimistic about years to come. “The [other two teams], composed mainly of freshmen and sophomores, had an admirable showing. Their performance makes me believe that our MSJ Science Olympiad future is bright.”
By: Alekya Rajanala