Thank you to all who attended the inaugural MIT Science Olympiad Invitational Tournament this Saturday. I hope that the tournament was a memorable and valuable experience for all teams, and it was a distinct honor and pleasure to be able to give back to the organization that meant so much to us in high school. Credit is due to the planning committee, event supervisors, and volunteers who devoted literally thousands of hours to making the tournament a success. I am floored and humbled by the tireless dedication I saw in so many people this past week, and I am so profoundly happy that we could contribute positively to the Science Olympiad experience of so many high school students.
The goal of Science Olympiad at MIT was to put on a tournament that would be valuable both for top national teams and for local teams who may have no other chance to experience the full docket of 23 events prior to the state competition (Massachusetts has no regional tournaments). To this end, I am pleased with what we were able to accomplish. In addition to welcoming teams from 14 states, including 17 teams from schools that competed at the national tournament last year, we hosted numerous small and/or brand-new teams from the Boston area.
We are incredibly proud of our event supervisors, each of whom was carefully chosen to write and run challenging, fair, and well-thought-out events. In addition to several national tournament event supervisors (Astronomy, Scrambler, Write It Do It) with decades of experience, our event supervisor field included an International Biology Olympiad gold medalist running Cell Biology, an International Chemistry Olympiad gold medalist running Chemistry Lab, and experienced Science Olympiad alumni, many of whom are national tournament gold medalists themselves, running the rest of the events. To make sure that finances did not pose an obstruction to creating top-notch events, all event supervisors' travel expenses and all event supplies were funded out of the budget of Science Olympiad at MIT, and members of the Science Olympiad at MIT invitational planning committee assembled all event supplies to be ready and waiting for event supervisors at the tournament. Furthermore, all written events were reviewed and approved in advance of the tournament by a committee of experienced exam auditors. Drawing from a deep pool of Science Olympiad alumni at MIT and other Boston-area universities, we made sure that each event was more-than-adequately staffed, with free food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided to event supervisors; lunch provided to volunteers and coaches) available to keep everyone well-fed throughout the day.
During the tournament, we experienced an initial 30-minute delay due to a snowstorm, and a further 15-minute delay due to three separate fire alarms in tournament buildings that forced the evacuation of several events and teams at various times throughout the day. These incidents required a rapid and comprehensive mobilization of our volunteers to spread the word among all tournament stakeholders and participants across campus, but in the end did not significantly disrupt tournament operations. The awards ceremony in Kresge Auditorium proceeded without additional delay, thanks to the army of planning committee members and volunteers running score counseling and entry at headquarters.
A Dropbox folder containing blank exams and answer keys for all written events, along with raw scores for mechanical events, was emailed to all coaches after the tournament. Final results of the tournament have been posted on our website at http://scioly.mit.edu/final-results/
Again, it was a distinct honor and pleasure to direct the inaugural MIT Science Olympiad Invitational Tournament, and I am profoundly inspired by the herculean efforts of our planning committee, event supervisors, and volunteers throughout the entire process. I hope that this tournament serves as a prototype for a new age of Science Olympiad tournaments, run by experienced Science Olympiad alumni, that synthesize the best elements of past tournaments to place the competitor experience above all and provide an unparalleled experience for competitors and coaches alike.
We welcome your feedback at scioly [at] mit [dot] edu. Wishing you all the best for a successful remainder of the Science Olympiad season.