Science Olympiad

Hundreds of High School Science Olympiad students from across the country gather for competition

Grace Smith

Hundreds of High School Science Olympiad students from across the country gather for competition

South Windsor STEM teams are dominating this year, especially SW SCIOLY(Science Olympiad), whose recent hard work has earned them a place at nationals in Kansas. 

Since the beginning of October, the Bobcats have been preparing for a competition, which is not like your typical high school science event. Science Olympiad competitions consist of multiple events which are split up into blocks, each block traditionally taking around an hour. Competition events focus on all different types of science which is the really unique part. Environmental science, engineering, chemistry, physics- you name it, Science Olympiad likely has it. This has earned them the title of  ’Science Track and Field´.

Junior Grace Smith, a fan and competitor in both science track and athletic track and field, recently won first place in an event she didn’t even know about until a few years ago: Forestry labeling, which is essentially studying and labeling dozens of different types of plants. 

Smith will be going to Nationals for this event along with 18 others members. This is the Bobcats first time flying to a national competition, which the team has earned through strong performances over various notable competitions.

In January, the Bobcats traveled three hours to East Greenbush, New York, where they competed in the Columbia Invitational. This was the first big meet of the season, which the team had been prepping for since fall.

A few weeks later, the team received 14 medals and fourth place at the 10th annual Yale invitational, February 7th. At this event, students participated in various competitions including but not limited to: cell biology, detector building, rock and minerals testing, and model plane flying where senior Sophia Wong and junior Parthiv Malipeddu earned a first place medal. 

Kansas is a difficult feat to achieve, but the Bobcats earned their spot after taking home gold at the state Championship meet located at UCONN, Storrs. This was their biggest event of the season and receiving gold meant a lot. 

“The most exciting event of the year was definitely the state competition where we won first place and moved on to nationals!” said senior Aditi Malpure.

A part of Science Olympiad since freshman year, Malpure values these competitions because of the motivation and teamwork within them. “Seeing everyone work together and support each other whether it be filling in on events, cheering each other on, or offering a wave of motivation, the team is very well connected and has given me some of my best friends.”

“The excitement of competing and seeing all your teammates getting awards is so rewarding and makes Science Olympiad feel like one big family,” Malpure added.

Out of the C Division C25 South Windsor placed first with C42 Glastonbury in second, C38 Hopkins in third, and C4 Staples finishing fourth. This astounding achievement earned them a special place in the Kansas national championships which the Bobcats were recognized for on the CT science olympiad Instagram: “Final results are in! Congrats to our top finishers and to everyone who competed yesterday! Good luck to @swhsscioly in Kansas!”  

South Windsor’s Scoly program has been growing in recent years, with students from all different experiences levels and ages taking part. Each SciOly team can only have a maximum of 15 members: “A Science Olympiad team is composed of up to fifteen students for Divisions B and C.”  (  With thirty interested students, S.W. has two separate teams who co-side and work together.

“The teams work really well together,” said Scioly senior Maya Mawla. 

“Sometimes I don’t even know who is on what team because of how much we all collaborate. It definitely feels like one unanimous group, a win for one person is a win for everyone,” Mawla added.

In addition to its dedicated students, the team also has many dedicated teachers including Mr. Joshua Kraus; one of the two science teachers at S.W. who helps coach SW SciOly. A physical science teacher at SWHS, Kraus has worked with both of the SW-scioly teams for the past few years:  “It is very rewarding to work with these creative and motivated students who want to challenge themselves to compete and succeed. I enjoy helping my team work to understand and learn science content,” Kraus said. 

An educator with tech/engineering experience, and many years of science education, Kraus is certainly experienced in science. Yet, because the team focuses on new and upcoming sciences and explores different topics every day his involvement with Science Olympiad has continued to keep him learning and interested in a plethora of science topics. “The challenges presented each year in Science Olympiad keep me learning and growing in my own science and engineering skills, and working with students who also appreciate science and are potentially just as nerdy as I am keeps me excited to embrace the challenge.”

Kraus is not the only staff member dedicated to S.W. SciOly. One student explains that in addition to the coaches, other science teachers play a huge part in keeping SciOly motivated and prepared. Junior, Jerome Arunkumar expresses that , “The trip to Kansas would not be possible without our amazing coaches Mr.Kraus and Mrs.Snyder as well as help from a bunch of other science teachers,”  

¨Shout out to Mrs. Andrews and Mr. Ly as they are taking a road trip, driving all the way down to Kansas with some of the more delicate items like balsa wood bridges, carefully calibrated 3d-printed clocks and much more.” Arunkumar adds.

The national meet will take place at Wichita State University from May 19-20. South Windsor is up against 60 different teams from all across the country. With many of these teams’ scores placed in close proximity there will be a lot of suspense.

Competitions consist of roughly 23 events. The team has 15 mains and 4 alternates. While the mains compete in scored events, alternates don’t just sit around. Alternates compete in trial events which mimic the scored ones. 

“We have regular study events such as Forestry which we have to compile a gigantic binder of information on various trees from a tree list they give us…We also have build events such as trajectory where we have to build a device that launches a racquetball to certain distances accurately.” Arunkumar adds.

Despite being awarded Silver during the state competition, Arunkumar states that the team isn’t anticipating much due to the level of prestige for this competition. “I am most excited about being able to compete on the national level. We aren’t really expecting much but we hope to gain experience and come back with a vengeance next year.”