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Re: Letter to the New York Director

Posted: March 11th, 2014, 1:20 pm
by Gemma W
EastStroudsburg13 wrote:

We understand that there is a risk for setting a precedent if this decision is reversed.
Also, we want to set a precedent for this. We specifically want the rules to be changed. It's not only about them bending the rules to allow us to compete; it's about getting to the root of the problem and changing the draconian policy so that this never happens again. We want to compete, sure, but it's a more important legacy to ensure that such a contradiction to the mission of Science Olympiad is eradicated from now on.

EDIT: That is, we want to instate in the future a more reasonable penalty for missing the deadline. This doesn't just apply to us.

Re: Letter to the New York Director

Posted: March 11th, 2014, 5:12 pm
by caseyotis
This is an abominable rule regardless of what team it concerns. Being from a small school in a small region, I would argue just as hard for any other school. The precedent is what's important.

I've signed the petition and I hope other people will too.

Re: Letter to the New York Director

Posted: March 11th, 2014, 6:00 pm
by haverstall
Another thing we have to consider is that unlike high school sports, where there are specific people who are coaches or athletic directors whose only responsibility is sports, with Science Olympiad, there is no "SciOly Director" in schools. Therefore, there is no one to be held "responsible" in that action can be taken as a consequence of missing a deadline. A science teacher, or in this case, an auditor, is not going to be fired for missing a Science Olympiad check on time. Frankly, that's the case. There are no advocates for these students, and because of that, this is really the only course of action that we can take.

Re: Letter to the New York Director

Posted: March 11th, 2014, 6:24 pm
by gneissisnice
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? 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.
What makes this different is that the protocol that was followed for every other team was not followed for Ward Melville. The state director called all of the teams that hadn't handed in their registration the week before it was due, but he did not contact WM's coach. Instead, he called the former coach who had retired many years earlier (she's our assistant coach now and still helps out), who was in Florida at the time and did not even receive the message until the next week. There was no attempt to call the head coach or the school, and without the call, we were unaware that the registration wasn't sent out. The director knew who he was calling, and he knew that she was not the head coach, yet made no attempt to contact the actual coach, and also made no attempt to try again after he failed to reach the person he called in the first place.

Re: Letter to the New York Director

Posted: March 11th, 2014, 6:34 pm
by EastStroudsburg13
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, 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.


Members of the Science Olympiad Student Center

EastStroudsburg13, Drexel University
zyzzyva980, Drake University
AlphaTauri, Hershey High School (PA)
Haverstall, University of Minnesota
Schrodingerscat, St. James Academy (KS)
Samantha Zarate, Stanford University
abby1kanobe, Coaching rep for TN Board of Directors
gneissisnice, Grad
iwonder, Cypress Falls High School (TX)
olympiaddict, Ward Melville High School
quizbowl, Syosset High School Alum
ThatRoboGuy, Chardon Middle School (OH)
RAntonello, Boca Raton Community High School (FL)
JonB, Boca Raton Community High School (FL)
Gemma W, Ward Melville High School
cmousseau, Plattsburgh High School
caseyotis, Ithaca High School
Mortem_Haedo, Mason Middle School (OH)
StogaSciOly, Conestoga High School (PA)
Atomicbob11, Conestoga High School (PA)
Efficiency, Ward Melville High School
Here is the petition as it stands now, with the current signatures. Any more suggestions?

Re: Letter to the New York Director

Posted: March 11th, 2014, 6:51 pm
by haverstall
Looks good to me. If they want real names as well, I wouldn't be opposed to that either.

Re: Letter to the New York Director

Posted: March 11th, 2014, 6:55 pm
by bubby2bubby2
I would also be fine with using real names if people think it could help convince the NY state director.

Re: Letter to the New York Director

Posted: March 11th, 2014, 7:05 pm
by EastStroudsburg13
If people want to resubmit with current names I would be more than willing to integrate them in, just make sure to put your username in parentheses so I don't put any doubles.

Re: Letter to the New York Director

Posted: March 11th, 2014, 7:06 pm
by astro124
I'll gladly sign. If you want my name, high school, division, and state for the petition then I'll send it to you via PM.

Science Olympiad has always been an extremely enjoyable and FUN activity meant for celebrating and encouraging a study that we all cherish and enjoy. Punishing a top-tier team that has spent months preparing due to an administrative error seems unbelievable to me. Not only does it deny them from the mission from of Science Olympiad, which is to encourage and inspire students in their scientific endeavors, it discourages the team for future years and upsets the students, parents, volunteers, and coaches that spend countless hours routed in this activity for their children. I can tell you first hand what bad organization and management from a school can do a team, especially schools that may not value their academic pursuits and ventures.

Please don't punish the students, parents, and teachers who make Science Olympiad the successful organization that it is. Punish the school's administration and principal, for their lack of responsibility.

From an Arizona competitor and Science Olympiad lover,

Thank You

Re: Letter to the New York Director

Posted: March 11th, 2014, 7:14 pm
by olympiaddict
Hey guys, we also have a petition coming from Ward Melville that is now available to sign at
We also greatly appreciate what you guys are doing here and in no means intend to step on anyone's toes, just figured it wouldn't hurt to finish our plans as well.
Thank you for all the support!