New York 2014

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TYG
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Re: New York 2014

Post by TYG » March 10th, 2014, 11:00 pm

Since people started talking about it, I guess I'll add in my two cents

First off, in case there was any ambiguity, I'm also from Ward Melville. I've been in science olympiad for around four and a half years, starting in seventh grade. Science olympiad means more to me than I could ever dream of articulating, and anything I say really can't do it justice. But I'll try.

The spirit of science olympiad has shaped my experiences for the past four years. Although it's a competition, we were always taught by our coaches to help other teams--to loan them goggles when needed, to point them in the right direction,to lend a hand when theirs were full. We were always taught to exercise good sportsmanship and compete with integrity. To us, science olympiad was about advancing our knowledge in areas of science that we normally wouldn't be exposed to. To us, the purpose of scio was to apply and demonstrate our newly learned skills at the different tournaments that we worked hard to reach. So when we were uninvited to states on the basis of late paperwork, we were not only devastated because we couldn't compete, but also because the decision goes against the spirit of scio-- something that we held in very high esteem. At first, we couldn't believe it was true-- that we would actually be denied our right to compete at states because of administrivia. After all, if scio was about learning and honest competition, it wouldn't make sense to prohibit a team from competing because their paperwork was sent two days late. As the week passed, it became clear that this was actually a legitimate problem, despite how ridiculous it sounded to us. As such, we were quickly informed about the situation. In black and white, the basis of our disqualification is valid. There was a deadline, we did not meet it. But it's silly to deal with a complicated issue in such a simple manner. Between the snow, the auditor's sickness, and the variety of other reasons, I find it deeply unsettling that this issue can be written off so easily. Regardless of all this, I also find it difficult to believe that there can be any justification for punishing a group of students for something completely beyond their control. We did not know about the threat of disqualification until it was too late, and therefore couldn't have done anything to prevent it. The purpose of our disqualification is "fairness" to the other teams. This, as mentioned earlier, has happened in the past, and so it would be unfair to handle the matter in a dissimilar fashion. It is clear to almost everyone that the deadline for the paperwork is completely arbitrary and should not exist as basis for disqualification. While science olympiad is a competition that should be fair to all teams and deal with all teams in the same manner, to consistently implement an unfair policy is disadvantageous to all teams. I am sure the teams who had been disqualified for the same reasons in the past would agree that this policy needs to be eliminated. This makes me wonder which of the affected parties in these incidents (if any) are in favor of implementing such a strict policy to begin with.

Our team right now is absolutely miserable because of this decision. We are devastated that an injustice like this can exist in the organization that has been our home for the past few years. The seniors on our team will not have the chance to have a proper "last tournament," since they did not anticipate this incident, and that alone is heart breaking enough. It may be easy enough for them to do this to a faceless group of students, but I hope they realize that we are more than just a check and signatures on a paper. While I owe to scio the introduction of my closest friends, I also owe to it the regret of not knowing them better.

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Re: New York 2014

Post by Luo » March 10th, 2014, 11:31 pm

TYG wrote:Since people started talking about it, I guess I'll add in my two cents

First off, in case there was any ambiguity, I'm also from Ward Melville. I've been in science olympiad for around four and a half years, starting in seventh grade. Science olympiad means more to me than I could ever dream of articulating, and anything I say really can't do it justice. But I'll try.

The spirit of science olympiad has shaped my experiences for the past four years. Although it's a competition, we were always taught by our coaches to help other teams--to loan them goggles when needed, to point them in the right direction,to lend a hand when theirs were full. We were always taught to exercise good sportsmanship and compete with integrity. To us, science olympiad was about advancing our knowledge in areas of science that we normally wouldn't be exposed to. To us, the purpose of scio was to apply and demonstrate our newly learned skills at the different tournaments that we worked hard to reach. So when we were uninvited to states on the basis of late paperwork, we were not only devastated because we couldn't compete, but also because the decision goes against the spirit of scio-- something that we held in very high esteem. At first, we couldn't believe it was true-- that we would actually be denied our right to compete at states because of administrivia. After all, if scio was about learning and honest competition, it wouldn't make sense to prohibit a team from competing because their paperwork was sent two days late. As the week passed, it became clear that this was actually a legitimate problem, despite how ridiculous it sounded to us. As such, we were quickly informed about the situation. In black and white, the basis of our disqualification is valid. There was a deadline, we did not meet it. But it's silly to deal with a complicated issue in such a simple manner. Between the snow, the auditor's sickness, and the variety of other reasons, I find it deeply unsettling that this issue can be written off so easily. Regardless of all this, I also find it difficult to believe that there can be any justification for punishing a group of students for something completely beyond their control. We did not know about the threat of disqualification until it was too late, and therefore couldn't have done anything to prevent it. The purpose of our disqualification is "fairness" to the other teams. This, as mentioned earlier, has happened in the past, and so it would be unfair to handle the matter in a dissimilar fashion. It is clear to almost everyone that the deadline for the paperwork is completely arbitrary and should not exist as basis for disqualification. While science olympiad is a competition that should be fair to all teams and deal with all teams in the same manner, to consistently implement an unfair policy is disadvantageous to all teams. I am sure the teams who had been disqualified for the same reasons in the past would agree that this policy needs to be eliminated. This makes me wonder which of the affected parties in these incidents (if any) are in favor of implementing such a strict policy to begin with.

Our team right now is absolutely miserable because of this decision. We are devastated that an injustice like this can exist in the organization that has been our home for the past few years. The seniors on our team will not have the chance to have a proper "last tournament," since they did not anticipate this incident, and that alone is heart breaking enough. It may be easy enough for them to do this to a faceless group of students, but I hope they realize that we are more than just a check and signatures on a paper. While I owe to scio the introduction of my closest friends, I also owe to it the regret of not knowing them better.
Comments like this should be shown to Harold Miller.
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Re: New York 2014

Post by EastStroudsburg13 » March 10th, 2014, 11:39 pm

This is exactly what I am thinking. There is an overwhelming amount of support for Ward's efforts to compete at states. There must be a way for us to have the ability to prevent this from happening. I am not sure what the best strategy would be, because I fear flooding his inbox may be counterproductive, but perhaps a collective message from the Science Olympiad Student Center could be achieved. We could also have a list of users showing solidarity with Ward as a part of the message. Keep in mind I am thinking this up at 2:30 in the morning, but to me it sounds feasible.

Any other ideas for something we can do now?
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Re: New York 2014

Post by haverstall » March 10th, 2014, 11:54 pm

Don't know how productive this could be, but talking to National Adminstrative people in conjuction with sending letters or a collective letter to the NYS people could be useful in putting pressure. While we are a small community, in comparison to the whole of Science Olympiad putting pressure from the National level could also help get a quicker resolution to this.
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Re: New York 2014

Post by Gemma W » March 11th, 2014, 3:03 am

Just so it's clear, we have talked to National administrative people. While they seem to agree with us, they refuse to override the state decision. It is my understanding that they were planning to discuss it with him, but at least so far it seems to have had little effect. It is astonishing and deeply disturbing to me that anyone who knew the full circumstances of this event would side with the current administration. Of course, it is difficult for me to be fully impartial given that it affects me personally, but as far as I can tell there is absolutely no justification for such an extreme punishment. I cannot imagine what has been said amongst themselves to justify this kind of harsh action.

Given this situation, I don't think that the state supervisors here in NY really understand what Science Olympiad is about. This is something I have been involved with since I first started junior high, and it has been a huge part of my life. As has been mentioned, we have always been taught that the most important thing is sportsmanship, and following the 'spirit of the rules'. Clearly, this decision goes directly contrary to all of those values, as well as science olympiad's mission of spreading the love of science to students. As I see it, the only thing this decision is doing is spreading resentment for science. It will not be enough to drive us away from science altogether, of course, but it will certainly halt much of our learning this year, as well as our growth as a team, and that, I think, is the saddest part of all. For me, the competition season was just beginning; it's hard to believe that now it's over through no fault of our own.
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Re: New York 2014

Post by Flavorflav » March 11th, 2014, 5:46 am

EastStroudsburg13 wrote:This is exactly what I am thinking. There is an overwhelming amount of support for Ward's efforts to compete at states. There must be a way for us to have the ability to prevent this from happening. I am not sure what the best strategy would be, because I fear flooding his inbox may be counterproductive, but perhaps a collective message from the Science Olympiad Student Center could be achieved. We could also have a list of users showing solidarity with Ward as a part of the message. Keep in mind I am thinking this up at 2:30 in the morning, but to me it sounds feasible.?
That's a good idea - we don't have time to do a physical petition, but on online scioly one could be doable. Do you have the ability to set something like that up?

Also, in case it is necessary, has anyone made armbands before? Do you just pin a strip of cloth, or what?

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Re: New York 2014

Post by EastStroudsburg13 » March 11th, 2014, 7:29 am

I've made a global thread for the purposes of developing a scioly petition. We will develop the wording of the petition there. I have also set up a Google Form for people to submit their usernames for signing the petition. I am also thinking of having everyone's school listed next to their username, if that's something everyone supports.
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Re: New York 2014

Post by olympiaddict » March 11th, 2014, 7:40 am

Thank you for the support!
We are also posting today a petition that anyone outside Science Olympiad can sign as well, but a petition from Scioly is very much appreciated.

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Re: New York 2014

Post by blockhead » March 11th, 2014, 5:12 pm

I am really glad to see this action. Do you want support from alum of SO or just current members. Maybe you can decide if it would help to have support from previous SO students now in college or beyond. If it would, how can you let them know about this? I don't think many former SOers are on Scioly anymore. And, I noticed comments from a PA SOer. Terrific!. Are students in other states supporting the NY students? Everyone benefits when all students support the spirit of SO!

Do many former and current SO'ers know about what is happening? What are the mechanisms that generally facilitate communication besides Scioly?

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Re: New York 2014

Post by blockhead » March 11th, 2014, 5:21 pm

Also, you may want to consider using actual names instead of user names. This won't out anybody if you can find a way for people to sign the petition without having to sign into Scioloy. Don't want to direct people away from Scioly but actual names will have much bigger impact than user names and some people wont want their user name connected to their actual names.

Are you using Survey Monkey?

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