The Student News Site of Hickman High School

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The Student News Site of Hickman High School

Purple and Gold News

The Student News Site of Hickman High School

Purple and Gold News

Super Scientists to State

Science Olympiad brings home the trophy at Regionals
The first place trophy that Hickman’s Science Olympiad team received upon getting first place at the Regional competition. (Sarah Won)

The Science Olympiad team placed first at the annual Regional competition at Missouri S&T on Feb. 24 and will be moving on to State in early April. 


Despite this not being Science Olympiad’s first success, this is Chemistry teacher Susan Schultz’s first year as the club’s sponsor.


“I do the organizational piece, making sure they’re registered, making sure they have transportation, [and] just in general, I provide a space for them to meet and any physical resources that they need,” Schultz said.


Besides that, Schultz says that she lets students take the lead.


“Our team captains are amazing, and they do most of the work,” she explained.


Science Olympiad has three captains: seniors Alex Fajen, Aashish Gadicherla and Jonas Nazario. Alex explained some of what goes into being the captain of such an intensive club.


“I organize who’s on what event; I organize transportation to our competitions [and] snacks for our practices. [I] get people partners, give people resources and supplies. I do a lot on the back end on top of also competing in Science Olympiad,” they said.


While Alex agrees that this is very stressful, they also find it fun.


“Science Olympiad prepares you for any future even if you’re not going into STEM because it teaches you a lot of skills…[it builds] a lot of those soft skills and time management, but it also allows people who are interested in STEM to explore different areas of STEM,” they explained.


Fellow captain Aashish added to the positive qualities of Science Olympiad.


Science Olympiad co-captain Aashish Gadicherla (12) talks to P&G reporter on Feb. 29. (Sarah Won)

“You can meet a lot of new people and it’s pretty fun to do,” he explained.


In addition to being fun, Science Olympiad has been very successful over the years.


“Science Olympiad at Hickman has been successful for many, many years. And so we have many trophies,” Schultz said, pointing to a shelf packed with past awards.


That being said, Hickman’s team is not underestimating the difficulty of going to State.


“We’re really good at regionals, but then when it gets to State, it’s a bit harder because there’s more competition,” junior Judicaelle (Judi) Yumwema explained.


Alex agrees that State will be more competitive, but has a plan for the team going forward.


Past Science Olympiad trophies lined up on top of a cabinet in sponsor Susan Schultz’s lab space. (Sarah Won)

“[We are going to] buckle in, focus up. Revise, revise, revise for our build events…Keep studying, keep working,” they said.


This seriousness isn’t to say that these student scientists don’t have fun though.


“Yule was taking videos of random people,” Eunjin (Lillyann) Chae (12) said.


Judi agreed about Yule bringing humor to the competition saying, “Yule was going around campus in a shark costume. So that was pretty funny, and he was hopping up the stairs.”


Yule Yoon (11), the apparent class clown, is in his first year on the Science Olympiad team.


“I like to consider myself as the unofficial cheerleader of Science Olympiad…I do this for all the laughs, for fun, [and] just [to] lighten the mood,” Yule said.


In regards to the videos, Yule explained that he was making “a preview of what Science Olympiad is. It’s showing the chaotic behind the scenes of events.”


The shark costume was worn because it was cold and doubled as a “pillow, onesie, and a blanket.”


Less practical was the way Yule had to hop around campus in the costume.


“I ran [in the onesie]. It was harder than cross country…I had to jump [up stairs], just body hop over everything. It didn’t help and I was also playing Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ while I was running around,” Yule said.

[We are going to] buckle in, focus up. Revise, revise, revise for our build events…Keep studying, keep working

— Alex Fajen (12)

An equally chaotic, but less fun story from the competition came about regarding the first-place trophy Hickman’s team was given.


“[Ms. Schultz] walks up [to get the trophy] and she’s standing up there for a little while and we’re cheering, we’re so excited. And she walked back and she like, puts the trophy up,” Alex explained.


Alex then went on to narrate how this perfect moment “had some character.”


The corner of the Science Olympiad trophy that was broken when it was given to Hickman’s team. (Sarah Won)

“[Ms. Schultz] turns to me, [and] she goes, ‘It’s a broken trophy.’ And they had handed her the trophy and the pieces that had broken off of the trophy,” Alex related through laughter.


Despite all of this, there are a few things that Science Olympiad members want people to know about the club.


“It may seem a little nerdy but it’s a really great opportunity to connect with people who have similar interests with you,” Judi said.


Aashsish agreed about the social aspect of Science Olympiad and added that it’s “just a fun time.”

Science Olympiad sponsor Susan Schultz talks to a P&G reporter about her team’s successes on Feb. 28.


Alex also pointed out the versatility of Science Olympiad.


“There’s 23 events. So there’s going to be something that you find interesting, and it’s about community. It’s about the relationships that we build as a team,” they explained.


With the students’ remarkable teamwork, Schultz is sure that Hickman’s team is going to do amazing on April 6 at State.


“It is a great group of people that really support each other; they work well together. Their camaraderie is inspirational, and I’m just lucky to be on the side watching them do their thing. So, go Hickman!”

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