Letter to the New York Director

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EastStroudsburg13
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Letter to the New York Director

Post by EastStroudsburg13 » March 11th, 2014, 5:37 am

Some of you who frequent the New York thread know this, but unfortunately, due to sending in their paperwork only a couple of days late, Ward Melville is not being allowed to compete at states this year. You can check out the thread here for more details, but in essence the team had no control over when the administration sent in the paperwork, and are now being unfairly punished by it.

As a show of solidarity, and possibly an attempt to convince the New York director otherwise, I propose that we create a letter to send via email or some other method to the director, voicing our disappointment in the way the situation has been handled and our hope that it may be resolved. As the largest online student Science Olympiad community, we are in a unique position to potentially make a difference here. This thread will be for ideas regarding this, and then eventually a signup for signatures at the end of the letter.

We don't have much time, since states starts on the evening of the 14th. In my mind, it is very important that we do this; Ward is a great member of the Science Olympiad community and we need to show that we will stand up and support them. Think about if it was your team that was not allowed to defend a state championship due to a small mishap in paperwork. Would you not appreciate any help that you could get? Ward deserves to compete, and they deserve to have us stand with them and voice our support for them.

Let's make a difference!

*This opinion is solely the opinion of the poster, and in no way represents the opinion of the staff of Scioly.org, nor is an official position held by the board*
East Stroudsburg South Class of 2012, Alumnus of JT Lambert, Drexel University Class of 2017

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Re: Letter to the New York Director

Post by Schrodingerscat » March 11th, 2014, 7:09 am

If we wish to send it in a condense resolution form rather than a long letter, here is a really rough draft I threw together from which we could work.
Whereas hard deadlines are often important and necessary,
Whereas it is sometimes not possible to meet a deadline despite more than reasonable effort,
Whereas it is the students who are harmed the most by strict adherence to the deadline,
Resolved, The members of the Science Olympiad Student Center respectfully request that the New York State Tournament loosen the payment deadline in order to allow Ward Melville to compete.

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Re: Letter to the New York Director

Post by EastStroudsburg13 » March 11th, 2014, 7:35 am

Personally I think we should incorporate elements like this and this so we include just how much this means to everyone, not just Ward. We don't want it to be excessively emotionally charged, but we have to include something that shows how much this means emotionally.
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Re: Letter to the New York Director

Post by EastStroudsburg13 » March 11th, 2014, 8:29 am

Here is the petition form. I will try to come up with a rough draft for the petition itself by 4, but if you want to sign it now you can. I have the option to edit responses enabled.
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Re: Letter to the New York Director

Post by EastStroudsburg13 » March 11th, 2014, 9:49 am

Dear Dr. Harold Miller,

It has come to our attention that, currently, Ward Melville will be unable to defend their state title due to a mishap with paperwork, we urge you to reconsider your decision in the spirit of sportsmanship and the joy of science.

For all of us here at the Science Olympiad Student Center, Science Olympiad has touched us in many profound ways, whether in terms of our interest in science, the teamwork displayed by teams, or just the camaraderie that forms within and between teams. It may be a competition, but our priority is always to enjoy that Science Olympiad provides such a great forum for motivated individuals to share a passion for science. We know that Ward Melville is one of the most hard-working teams in the country, and their main goal is not winning but being able to take as much from the experience of Science Olympiad as possible.

Based on testimonies from Ward Melville students and alumni, it appears the main problem was that the paperwork for states was a day or two late. However, this was not due to a fault of the students or coaches, but rather that the form was hung up in administration for a few days. Even though the rules state that this offense denies a team from competing at states, is it really worth taking away the opportunity for Ward to showcase their joy of science at the state competition, and to enjoy the spirit of competition from the other teams? We may forget sometimes, but the main goal of the competition is to celebrate science, and this should be the top priority for everyone involved.

We understand that there is a risk for setting a precedent if this decision is reversed. However, we offer this: would the situation be any different if any other team had this problem? Say a team qualified for states for the first time; would it be fair to deny them the chance to show their skills at the state stage because their paperwork was a few days late? There are rules for a reason, yes, but sometimes exceptions must be made to maintain the integrity of the competition.

We implore you to rethink this decision, as we feel it is incredibly heartbreaking to deny Ward the opportunity to defend their state title against other worthy teams, but most importantly, to deny the opportunity to spend a day with the top scientific minds in New York. We hope that the spirit of Science Olympiad is not lost, and that the seniors who have worked so tirelessly throughout their high school careers for Ward will be able to have a proper send-off: with the spirit of science.

Regards,

The Members of the Science Olympiad Student Center

(signatures)
This is very rough so all suggestions are welcome, either in terms of adding, deleting, or rewording things.
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Re: Letter to the New York Director

Post by ThatRoboGuy » March 11th, 2014, 9:56 am

I don't have time to super fancify it now and help with grammar (something I am good at). At 3:00-4:00 today I will be on and helping as much as I can.
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Re: Letter to the New York Director

Post by MMeteorite1 » March 11th, 2014, 12:39 pm

For the sake of intellectual debate, what is the message we are sending and I don't mean the letter. I mean, are we saying it's ok to miss deadlines as long as you are really good? Would we be writing letters for a lowly start up team that will miss regionals because of the same tardiness? A few years ago our high school soccer team had to forfiet the state semi-final because of a clerical error. (Athletic Director resigned after that). I get it. Kids did nothing wrong and are being essentially punished for someone else's error. 2 days late is ok, but a week is really late? Not sure where you draw the line. The world's a crazy place. Did you hear about the Ohio State Hockey Championship that ended in a tie after 7 overtimes. They called it becasue they were concerned about injuries??? They would not consider a shoot out or playing 5 v 5 as it wasn't in the rules (but neither is calling a game a tie). Any other tournament game, they would need to declare a sole winner to move on to the next round. I really don't know if I have a point other than, rules are made, then sometimes, rules are over-looked. Sometimes it seems like it makes sense too bend them, and we don't, and when it doesn't we do. Basically, life is not just like a box of chocolates, it's a moving box. Not only do you not know what you're going to get, you have to catch it first.

Good luck in your quest.

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Re: Letter to the New York Director

Post by EastStroudsburg13 » March 11th, 2014, 12:46 pm

If you read the letter you would have seen this part:
We understand that there is a risk for setting a precedent if this decision is reversed. However, we offer this: would the situation be any different if any other team had this problem? Say a team qualified for states for the first time; would it be fair to deny them the chance to show their skills at the state stage because their paperwork was a few days late? There are rules for a reason, yes, but sometimes exceptions must be made to maintain the integrity of the competition.
So it's not like Ward is special. A lot of it is circumstantial, but in this case it's close enough to the deadline that it's worth going back on. It was through no oversight of the team, and holding an inflexible policy is illogical. And this is not an athletic event where the main purpose is competition. If you look at the Science Olympiad mission statement it only briefly mentions the competitive aspect. And I'm not sure why you mention the hockey game, because to me that only supports the need to allow Ward to compete; rules need to be bent for the integrity of the game (the reason they did not go to a shootout is because they felt it would compromise the integrity of the game, since the teams worked so hard for 7 overtimes only for it to end in a shootout). So I'm not exactly sure what your overall point is.
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Re: Letter to the New York Director

Post by FueL » March 11th, 2014, 1:04 pm

Thanks so much. All the support from you guys is really appreciated by the team.
MMeteorite1 wrote:For the sake of intellectual debate, what is the message we are sending and I don't mean the letter. I mean, are we saying it's ok to miss deadlines as long as you are really good?
No. We're saying that fifteen students should not be disqualified from competition because of a minor administrative error that ultimately did no harm, by an organization whose sole mission is to promote love of science and intellectual exploration.

Your argument that life isn't fair doesn't mean we shouldn't try to right injustices that exist. If not for us, then at least for future NYSSO teams so this never happens again.
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Re: Letter to the New York Director

Post by Kokonilly » March 11th, 2014, 1:15 pm

FueL wrote:
MMeteorite1 wrote:For the sake of intellectual debate, what is the message we are sending and I don't mean the letter. I mean, are we saying it's ok to miss deadlines as long as you are really good?
No. We're saying that fifteen students should not be disqualified from competition because of a minor administrative error that ultimately did no harm, by an organization whose sole mission is to promote love of science and intellectual exploration.
It is also worth pointing out that a really good/passionate team would obviously care about missing an important competition, whereas a team that did not perform as well and had less passionate members (chicken-and-egg scenario) might not care enough to create a petition and lobby for their inclusion.

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