Scioly.org:Team of the Week

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Team of the Week (TOTW) was a feature on Scioly.org designed to spotlight teams that may not receive as much attention. The Team of the Week feature was first launched in 2000 with the third generation of the site, but was discontinued later on. The feature was brought back by John Richardsim in January of 2016, but was discontinued due to a lack of interest.

Applying for TOTW

Teams interested in applying for Team of the Week status would have submitted a form to the TOTW moderator with answers to questions about the team. Most recently, this took the form of filling out a Google Doc and submitting it through PM to the TOTW moderator. Team of the Week would then be randomly selected from the pool of applicants.

Example TOTW Questions

  1. What is the name of host school or organization?
  2. What division does this team compete in?
  3. Where is this team located?
  4. Does this team have a website? If so, what is the URL?
  5. How many years has the team competed?
  6. Does each event have a coach?
  7. Any accolades or awards?
  8. What tournaments does the team attend?
  9. What is the team's practice schedule?
  10. Describe the team's leadership structure.
  11. How are events assigned to competitors?
  12. How is the team funded? Does it have sponsors?
  13. If there are multiple teams, how are members distributed?
  14. How are different grade levels handled?
  15. Does the team have a mascot?
  16. What makes this team unique?

Archived Entries

January

Week 1 - John P. Stevens High School (1/17/16)

TOTW Entry

General Information:

School Name: John P. Stevens High School
School/Team Mascot: Hawk
Division: C
City: Edison
State: NJ

How long has your school had a Science Olympiad team?

"Since 2009, so 8 years."

About how many students participate in your program?

"About 30-40 students participate in Science Olympiad in our school. It’s a fairly medium-sized club, although there are some clubs that are much bigger (such as FBLA and Odyssey of the Mind)."

Does your team hold tryouts? If so, describe them.

"Our team does hold tryouts. Tryouts are done using tests, the results of which will be consulted to make up the regionals and states teams."

How are practices structured for your team?

"We usually have about 2-3 practices a week. The practices are usually from 4-6 PM, although some can be from 2:45-4 PM depending on library and student availability. the practices are used as study sessions; for members to have specialized time to prepare for their events."

Does your team have captains? If so, how are they selected? How many are there? What are their duties as captain?

"Our team does have captains. There are usually 2 captains, and they were chosen by having prospective candidates fill out an application talking about the experience in Science Olympiad, how they can be a proper leader for Science Olympiad, and other necessary questions to verify that our club is brought under competent leadership. The prospective candidates also need to get 2 recommendations from science teachers using forms given to them by the coaches. Their duties are to pick members for the teams for regionals and states and coordinate tryouts and information sending to the rest of the team."

How do coaches function in your team?

"Coaches are responsible for the connection to administration regarding registering for competition, getting school buses ready, managing finances so that they can reimburse build team members at the end of the school year, and overall holding the fort down so that nothing “too” crazy happens."

List any of your team’s past accolades:

"3rd Place at 2015 NJ States
4 straight events getting 1st in Towers (2011 Regionals, 2011 States, 2012 Regionals, 2012 States)
1st Place at 2011 Camden County Regionals
1st Place Protein Modeling 2012 States, 1st Place WIDI 2014 States, 1st Place Dynamic Planet 2014 States, 2nd Place Astronomy 2015 Union County College Regionals
Full list of accomplishments: [1]"

Share a funny story or two about your team:

"1) Our piano broke on our way to States 2012, and the team members responsible for Sounds of Music that competition had to makeshift repairs (we got 21st, which is explained by the lack of proper piano).
2) On the tryout test for experimental design, I believe the prompt was to try to melt an ice cube or something like that, and one of our team members trying out wrote as part of the supplies needed “H-Bomb” (like literally a hydrogen bomb). Everyone was cracking up after that happened, and the term came up as a suggestion for the nickname for his T-shirt."

What are the team's expectations for the coming season of competition?

"Get to Nationals and (finally) beat West Windsor-Plainsboro North and South!"

Week 2 - Ladue Horton Watkins High School (1/24/16)

TOTW Entry

Wow, Sunday already. You know what that means; it's time for the new Team of the Week! Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the Rams from Ladue High School in St. Louis, Missouri!

Ladue High School's Science Olympiad team started in the late 80's, but the program sadly came to a halt after 1992. However, the program was brought back in the 2008 season after a fifteen year hiatus. The program is generally average-sized, with about twenty students participating.

Two sets of tryouts are held each year for Ladue. The tests are written by teachers who specialize in the subject of the event. Practices for the team are held at the middle school about once a week. They are generally used for collaborating with other team members. The coach orders pizza for those who pay for it if the meeting goes late. The team's coach provides his room for practices and makes sure nothing too dangerous goes down. The team has two senior captains who are chosen by the coach based on the level of dedication they have shown to the program. These captains are responsible for making sure practices remain productive and boosting team morale. As a tradition, the job of one of the captains is to be the “rapper” or “mixtape artist” and s/he is constantly spitting fire.

The team has been quite successful, having qualified for nationals twice in its four years of existence from 1989 to 1992, in addition to every single year since it restarted in 2008, where they have reached as high as 16th place. This year, the team is aiming to try to place first at the Missouri State Competition and in the top twenty at nationals, a goal that forum member Magikarpmaster629 thinks is becoming realized more and more each day.

Week 3 - Milton High School (1/31/16)

TOTW Entry

Alright y'all, it's time to introduce the latest Team of the Week; please welcome the Eagles of Milton High School in Milton, Georgia!

Milton High School's Science Olympiad program started around 6 years ago. Since its inception, it has seen great successes, including a 4th and 3rd place finish at their regional competition in 2014 and 2015, respectively, along with a 5th place finish at last year's Georgia State Competition. Through the season, the program usually downsizes from about 45 students to roughly 30 students around the start of the second semester as people leave to play sports and such.

At Milton, teams are not stacked at invitationals, and the results of each student at invitationals will just help determine their team placement at later tournaments. In December, they hold an in-school competition for all study and lab events, and students' performance at this tournament, along with past experience and coach recommendations, will be taken into account for stacking teams at regionals. Building events are generally not included in this in-school tournament, as they are relatively unpopular among participants. Practices for study and lab events are held on Tuesday and Wednesday and last for three hours, in which coaches meet with their students in one hour blocks to go over past competitions or other important material. Practices for building events are held over the weekend, and tend to be much more student-run than practices for study and lab events. Everything in the design process is overseen by an experienced builder, who is also in charge of calling practice and transporting any devices and tools to the tournament. Additionally, coaches are present to help provide advice about designs.

Milton has one captain and one vice captain, appointed by the head coach based on prior experience in Science Olympiad and commitment to the team. Roles of these positions include handling team PR with the school administration, sorting out materials for tournaments, and acting like role models for the other competitors. There are two head coaches, who namely are in charge of administrative tasks like paperwork in addition to their coaching duties. There are also several parent volunteers who assist the head coaches with administrative tasks and a few who coach events. Some events are run by upperclassmen, while others have students functioning as assistant coaches. In the coming season, the goal of many of those involved in Milton's Science Olympiad program is to place 1st or 2nd at the Georgia State Competition and qualify for the National Tournament.

Okay, so as many of you probably know, one of the things on the application document is to share a funny story or two about the team. Well, I'm not exactly sure how to say this one, so I'm just going to have to quote it directly:

"Last year, we found this mutilated picture of the AP Lang teacher at our school in the SO closet. Rather than give it to our head coach, we made it our second mascot. Turns out that said AP Lang teacher gave the picture to our head coach as a present."

In addition to...uh...that, at the team's Write It Do It practices, forum member Samlan16 often gives great titles to the practice builds, including such timeless classics as “McDonald’s Disco,” “The Illuminati Takes Over a Playground in Alaska,” and “I’m sorry, but this looks like a burrito tossed out on the side of the road.” After contacting the country's best Write It Do It participants and researching this matter extensively, I have developed the following renditions of these builds (see left):

Rendition of "The Illuminati Takes Over a Playground in Alaska."
The actual "McDonald's Disco."
Rendition of "I’m sorry, but this looks like a burrito tossed out on the side of the road."

We believe "McDonald's Disco" to have looked something like what is shown in these two videos:

[2]
[3]
(yes, I realize that the music in those isn't disco, but c'mon, give me a break here)

After receiving the following picture of the actual "McDonald's Disco," we actually weren't too far off (see right).

February

Week 4 - Auburn Junior High School and J.F. Drake Middle School (2/7/16)

TOTW Entry

Time for our new Team of the Week, Auburn Middle School Science Organization!

AMSSO is the collective programs of Auburn Junior High School and Drake Middle School in Auburn, Alabama. It was started back in 1997, and as such will celebrate its 20th season in 2016. It is a very large program, with around 130 students signing up this year, though only about 75 are taken to regionals.

Tryouts, referred to as testoffs, are held in the first week of December, during which each student takes tests for their events. Testoffs in previous years have been run as a sort of one-school invitational, but this year all tests were taken after school over the course of one week. Before testoffs, all students go to joint practices for their events after school on Tuesday-Friday, except for build events. After regional teams and partners are selected, students are expected to practice with each of their partners at least once a week. These partner practices take place after school three days a week, and some practice in the library over the weekends. Between the teams, there are two coaches, one of which generally oversees building events while the other manages study events. These coaches also supervise Science Fair and Science Bowl. Though the team does not have captains, students from Auburn High School act as event coaches for the teams.

In its history, AMSSO has seen great success, including 19 uninterrupted regional titles, the past 17 state titles, and even a top 10 finish at the 2014 National Tournament by Auburn Junior High School. This year, they are striving to once again defend their state title and place in the top 15 at the National Tournament.

Week 5 - Hamilton Middle School (2/19/16)

TOTW Entry

Alright everyone, let's point the spotlight up to Madison, Wisconsin for the Hawks from Hamilton Middle School!

The program has roughly 50 students participating, but this is eventually shaved down to a number closer to 15 for later competitions. Started in 2010, the team has held the Division B state title for the past 6 years. The team has also performed very well at nationals, with several top 20 finishes, including a 12th place finish in 2012.

In the team, the head coach manages the structural aspects of the team and organizes the competition, while parents and volunteers from UW Madison or MATC function as event coaches. These coaches are responsible for setting up meeting times for the students in the specific event. Many events tend to require significant amounts of at-home work, and practices for these events are uncommon. Unlike some schools, Hamilton doesn't have captains. Additionally, Hamilton does not hold tryouts, keeping its program open.

As previously described, Hamilton has seen great success in its history, including having won every invitational and regional tournament they have attended over the past three years. Speaking of invitationals, they recently had to cancel their appearance at an invitational the day of the tournament. Their entire team awoke in the early morning hours to leave, but unfortunately, after over two hours, the bus never came to pick them up, as the bus diver accidentally misinterpreted the time of departure as 5:15 PM, rather than 5:15 AM. But this will not hold back the aspirations of the team; they still aim to win states, improve at nationals, and continue having pizza after every competition! And hey, if nothing else they can still do some showing off to the rest of the school at an upcoming competition at their school.

Week 6 - Lakeshore Middle School and White Pines Intermediate School (2/26/16)

TOTW Entry

Well, I have no completed documents again, so looks like I'll have to talk about something I'm familiar with; Grand Haven Middle School Science Olympiad!

GHMSSO is the combined efforts of Lakeshore Middle School and White Pines Intermediate School in Grand Haven, Michigan. These programs started with the establishment of Lakeshore and White Pines (then a middle school) in the 1997-1998 school year after a new high school was constructed for attendance of grades 9-12. Lakeshore is located in the building of the former senior high and White Pines is located in the building of the former junior high. Nowadays, GHMSSO is a very large program with well over one hundred students participating each year.

No tryouts are held for GHMSSO; any students interested in participating are welcome to do so. However, as regionals approaches, a single fifteen-member competing team for each school must be selected. To aid in this selection, an intramural competition called Blue and Gold (a reference to the school district's colors) is held each year a few weeks before regionals (in fact, this year it is being held tomorrow; good luck to everyone competing!) At this tournament, students compete individually and ribbons are awarded to the top 3 competitors in each grade level in each event, along with a medal for the overall champion of each event. Although only a small selection of the participating students are selected as one of the fifteen competitors, all students are strongly encouraged to attend the regional tournament for at least part of the day to see what a Science Olympiad competition is like. After regionals, the program is cut down to a traveling team of fifteen competitors and several alternates for each school.

Practices for study and lab events are generally held in one-hour time blocks after school during the weekdays. Building events are usually held in multiple-hour chunks of time over the weekends. Each event has one or two coaches who run practices. Captains are elected by other team members and the coaches shortly before the state competition, and their duty is generally focused around boosting team morale. One of the longstanding traditions is "Build Me Up Buttercup" by The Foundations, the team song of GHMSSO. This year, the teams are aiming to improve at all levels of competition, a task being taken steadily day-by-day.

External Links

Old Team of the Week archives via the Wayback Machine
2016 Forum Thread