Stuyvesant Science Olympiad Hosts First Invitational Competition

The Stuyvesant Science Olympiad team is hosting its first online invitational competition on November 11.

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The Stuyvesant Science Olympiad (SciOly) team is hosting its first online invitational competition on November 11, where schools all across the state are invited to participate. Led by senior and SciOly President Jessica Liu, the team hopes to get a chance to build closer relationships with many other schools and gain further experience for future competitions.

Due to the fact that this is the first time the Stuyvesant team has hosted an invitational competition, they have encountered a few logistical challenges. To start, Stuyvesant has strict rules regarding safety and health that make it challenging to bring in students from other schools. “We actually have no history of holding an invitational,” junior and SciOly Vice President Alan Chan said. “The administrators [have been hesitant] about us letting other schools come in.”

However, the team is hopeful that having placed top five in the state championships last year will convince the administrators to support their endeavors. “I think after we had that achievement of getting top five in the state, they might be willing to let us come in and if we are a nationally ranked team, then other schools would definitely come to our invitational,” Chan said.

Despite this achievement, however, the team has had trouble recruiting its biggest competitors to participate. “Brooklyn Tech, not coming. Ward, our biggest competitor, not here. Syosset, not here,” senior and Division Captain of Inquiry Eugene Guo said.

With Stuyvesant SciOly’s biggest competitors not coming, the team is unable to obtain information about their competition and grow from the experience. “We wanted to collect data on other teams because [during the competition], we get to see what they know, what they don’t know, and how we compare,” Chan said.

Before holding their first invitational, the SciOly team wants to better themselves by gaining experience from other competitions. “We have always prioritized kind of getting ourselves into shape, so that means attending other competitions and [...] getting more opportunities [for members to] compete and [...] exercise their abilities in their individual events,” Liu said. 

The team has also generally found virtual competitions to be easier for them to manage. “[When competitions were] virtual, we found that it was definitely a more feasible option for us, especially since Stuyvesant is pretty rigorous in terms of safety and other protocols in terms of actually using our building,” Liu said.

However, the Science Olympiad team believes that there is a downside to a virtual invitational. “The virtual format does kind of take away a lot of the feeling of actual competition. For example, [a] big part of Science Olympiad is [when] students build their own designs for a specific objective. And so there’s [varying] objectives each year, and unfortunately, we can't necessarily test that through just through a virtual format,” Liu said.

Though holding a virtual invitational does have challenges, cost is not one of them. “[Starting the competition] was completely free on our part. The only thing we need to purchase is medals and trophies and we have to pay shipping fees […] but that should be covered by the registration fee,” Chan said.

This registration fee will be $60 per team and is set to be cost-effective for other teams. “We have been working on finding ways to get funding for that and the main route for that will be through the registration fee that all teams will have to provide, and is definitely on the lower end of virtual fees. Just because we want to consider the fact that a lot of schools have budgets to work around,” Liu said.

Even with the many challenges and difficulties the Stuyvesant SciOly team has been facing, they are looking optimistic for the future. “I think we're set for a good pace and our registrations are currently open,” Liu said. “All teams have more than we need.”