Rustin Science Olympiad Team Advances to National Competition

Rustin Science Olympiad Team Advances to National Competition

Rustin Science Olympiad Team

Front row (left to right) – Aidan Dempsey, Yonatan Sklansky, Aravind Kavuturu, Anya Koyner, Jacob Klanica, Andrew Welter
Middle row (left to right) – Cassandra Hung, Emily Houck, Patti Curtis, Eirlys Barbara, Cindy Le
Back row (left to right) – Ryan Apostolico, Aidan Lefebvre, Ryan Hoffmann, Nick Gentile, Kim Le
*Not pictured – Dean Jones, Dilan Kuders, Nathan Podgurski, Birju Patel, Molly Wade

Rustin High School's Science Olympiad Team has once again earned the opportunity to compete in the National Science Olympiad Tournament. The 35th annual Science Olympiad National Tournament will be held May 29-June 1 at Cornell University. Rustin is one of 60 high schools across the country to advance to the national competition.

Science Olympiad is an organization that focuses on enhancing student education in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Competitions are hosted each year, beginning at the local level and advancing to the national competition. There are 23 team events featured at each competition with topics that include astronomy, the planet, invasive species, wind power, air trajectory, and chemistry.

For Rustin, the road to nationals included a 3rd-place finish at regionals, medaling in 17 of the 23 events, and a 2nd-place finish at states, medaling in 16 of the 23 events.

According to head coach, Jaime Suarez, winning truly takes a team effort, and the upperclassmen go out of their way to work with the underclassmen to strengthen the team.

"Individually, students can medal in their events, but in order for the team to do well, all 23 events have to do well. We can't just have one person be the most amazing anatomy person, for example, because that's not enough. We need to have a whole group that is amazing."

While many members of the team pursue a science major in college, not all do. According to Suarez, no matter what their focus is in college, Science Olympiad prepares them for higher education.

"A lot of the things that they come away with is less about science, and more about studying independently which no matter what they study in college is so helpful," added Suarez.

For many of the students, the bonds the form from working so closely together are unbreakable.

"It's more of a family than a club," said senior Aidan Dempsey. "We worked hard all year to earn this. Pennsylvania is one of the most competitive states in the nation. Mr. Suarez makes sure we're teaching the freshman how to build and run devices well, which is what keeps us competitive each year. We're ecstatic to make it to nationals after losing last year and very thankful, Mr. Suarez is our coach."

Mr. Suarez, who has taught physics for the West Chester Area School District for the past ten years, first became involved with Science Olympiad as a seventh-grader and continued it throughout middle school, high school, and college. Chemistry teacher Tanna Whitton also serves as an advisor the team.

The Rustin Science Olympiad Team was founded in 2006. The year marks the fifth national appearance for the team.