Los Angeles Regional Science Olympiad Competition


Ellie Gladson-Pang, Staff Writer

Representing Arcadia High School (AHS) at the Los Angeles Regional Science Olympiad Competition on Mar. 4, the AHS Science Olympiad team grappled with tests and challenges related to all things science. Chemistry, forensics, engineering, physics, anatomy, epidemiology, geology, and meteorology proved to be no match for the AHS team, however.

Out of 60 teams from all across the region, AHS’ A Team placed second overall in the country-wide regional qualifier, cementing their place at the state competition on April 8. Their B Team placed sixth, with another great placement, making AHS the only school in the entire competition to have placed with both teams.

From their 7 a.m. arrival at Rio Hondo College, all the way until the celebratory team dinner afterwards, the team’s 28 participants had the chance to demonstrate their skills in the event-based team competition. With the traditional spring competition season drawing closer to the ultimate culmination at Southern California State competition, AHS students were certainly itching to show-off their knowledge and know-how in the 23 events of Science Olympiad’s high school program. 

“It was a long day, packed full of events; we went in the early morning and stayed until the awards ceremony at 6 p.m., and had a team dinner afterwards. It was tough, but very rewarding,” said sophomore Avani Athavale.

Science Olympiad is a national organization that hosts competitions in events pertaining to a variety of scientific fields. Even in a stiff field of high school teams from all 50 states, AHS’ team has been historically successful, earning top 10 places in Regional and State events since 2019. There are 23 events in which pairs of students from the same team enter, including test, lab, and building-based ones. Some events, like Chemistry Lab, Forensics, and Environmental Chemistry, simulate real lab scenarios centered on obtaining results. Others, including Detector Building and Wifi Lab, have both a test and a build portion to hone a variety of skills on one topic. Furthermore, some fully building-focused events like Flight, Bridges, Trajectory, and Scrambler require students to work on creating their own devices and developing their own processes to put to the test during the event. 

“In this competition, I participated in Disease Detectives, and we got 1st place. I also got 5th in Flight and second in Forensics. Like most of the events in Science Olympiad, these are all partner-based events,” said Athalvale. “My favorite event is Forensics, which I’ve grown to really enjoy this year due to the in-person competition. A major part of the event is having samples of different powders, fibers, hairs, and plastics to use to implicate suspects in the crime that we are given. Last year, since it was mostly online, we couldn’t do the actual lab portion for most competitions, but this year we have participated in three in-person competitions for which I have done this event.”

Team Captain senior Janell Wang would also encourage STEM interested students to join the team. “Science Olympiad is a lot of fun because not only do you get to explore a huge variety of events that cover different fields of science, but you also get to meet a lot of interesting people with the same interests as you,” said Wang.

“If this sounds like something you could be interested in doing or you have a huge STEM interest, definitely consider trying out,” continued Wang.

“Being on the team for three years now and as the captain, I have made a lot of fond memories with people, whether it would be preparing for an upcoming competition or having a post-competition dinner. I’m truly proud to be the captain of such an amazing team of people.”

AHS sent two teams of 15 members, an A and B team, to the LA Regionals with hopes of placing within the top six overall in order to advance to the State-level competition. The winner of that competition receives the title of State Champion and the opportunity to represent Southern California at the National tournament in May. 

“We knew that our main competition for regionals was Temple City High School (TCHS) and Glen A. Wilson High School (GAWHS). Arcadia usually does quite well at regionals, and this year, are two teams placed second and sixth respectively, which means that both technically qualified for State. However, only one team per school can go to State, so our first team will be advancing,” said Athavale. 

“We were a little disappointed with the second place, because it was by three points, but overall everyone was proud of having done so well, with many of our competitors placing first in their events.”

Congratulations to our Science Olympiad team, and good luck at State!

For any AHS students who are curious about joining the team and participating in future events like this one, visit the team website or their booth at Spring Preview. From Codebusters to Green Generation, Science Olympiad surely has an event to foster your love of science. The collaborative team environment and exciting competition days add to the fun. Check out the event descriptions on the official member website and their public information page. 


Photo courtesy of Heather Lam