February 21, 2018

Academic competitions looking to be “A” success

The Science Olympiad team competed this past month at the state meet on March 21 (Courtesy Photo).

Spring sports are just heating up, but the academic clubs and competitions at school are already in full swing. As the winter sports teams finished up their quests for state championships, several clubs such as Mock Trial, JSA, World Affairs, and Science Olympiad were looking to win big. Some of the clubs that participated in academic competitions in the past months included.

The Science Olympiad team participated in the state meet on March 21 at Framingham State University. The meet was part of the National Science Olympiad program, and Wellesley has participated in each of the twenty plus years that it has been running.

25 events run throughout the course of the day, covering biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, and engineering.  Events feature tests and labs, as well as testing devices that students build before the meet. The 44 schools that compete in these events send 15 students and participate in teams of two or three.

This year’s team is lead by physics teacher Mr. Brian Finn and team Captains Conder Shou ’15 and Abbey Mui ’16. Mui is optimistic about the team’s chances at finishing in the top ten at the meet. She said, “I think the team will do well this year! We have been determined and organized, and it showed in our sixth place finish in regionals.”

Shou agreed, “We’ve got an awesome group of underclassmen this year that, together with the rest of the team, has helped us do better than we ever have these past few years. I am hoping we continue our streak at the State meet and bring in the heat this year,” he said.

Additionally, Mock Trial is one of the school’s newest clubs, which began this year under the leadership of Social Studies and Philosophy teacher Mr. Daivd Heyman. Heyman coached Mock Trial for 18 years previously at other schools and is very excited to be coaching it again this year. “Mock Trial is really great. It helps you think on your feet and improve your public speaking skills.”

The Mock Trial team went 2-0 in the regular season this year, but lost in the conference meet to the highly-experienced Newton North team. The team was debating a murder case this season, and had to argue both sides of the case in each respective regular season meet.

The World Affairs Club participated in the Worldquest competition on March 28, which is the flagship event of the World Affairs Councils of America.  The questions asked in the competition are based on ten categories deemed the most important world affairs topics over the course of the year. There were ten rounds with ten questions each; all were multiple-choice questions except for Current Events, which featured fill-in-the-blank, true or false, and open-ended questions.

The team has done very well in previous years, with a second place finish last year. In order to be competitive, the students in World Affairs Club need to do research on their own time, so they can have presentations and discussions in the club to prepare for the competition.

The team is lead by history teacher and faculty advisor Mr. John Burns. “We have very little time to prepare, but the students really embrace the research and preparation,” said Burns.

Junior Statesmen of America will be attending Spring State on April 25 to 26 in Stamford, CT. Spring State is the last major conference of the JSA school year, and by popular opinion, the best conference that the group attends. Spring State is a weekend of debates, activism, and activities with kids from all over the North East.

These academic competitions deserve as much respect as the sports teams, and winning big at these competitions is just as big as a State Championship.

 (Dillon Hourican ’18 and Jameson O’Neil ’18, Staff Writers)

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