By Ashley Masih ‘18 and Kareem Ibrahim ‘18
As February quickly approaches, the Ocean Science team is preparing for their next big competition.
Ocean Science is an academic competition focusing on topics such as biology, chemistry, physics and geology within the school where they meet three times a week. They prepare to compete in regional tournaments as qualifiers for nationals.
“The team is very dedicated and I’m proud to be a part of it,” said Celine Lam ‘18.
According to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, there are 25 regional competitions in which the winner from each will advance to the finals, which are typically held in April. This year’s finals will be held in Corvallis, Oregon, and the top three winners will be awarded with a trip to exciting locations.
Lam says that to do well on the team, you need to have perseverance and to maintain your grades.
The team is divided into two groups, A and B team. These teams usually contain a mix of juniors and seniors, with a few sophomores. In the beginning of the school year, members take a pretest, quizzing their prior knowledge. Throughout the school year, the members go through the rigorous curriculum. Then they take their posttest before their qualifying tournament, which decides whether or not they go into A team, B team, or neither.
Last year’s A team performed extraordinarily well and placed ninth place in the national Ocean Science tournament.
“I do feel tensed because you’re expected to get things right, but nobody’s perfect so we’re all working hard,” said Jennifer Phu ‘17, captain of the A team.
The assistant coach Ms. Kimberly Lau said, “There is now pressure to maintain the title but they work really hard and are doing even more work than last year’s team.”
Ms. Lau has been improving the way the team learns the curriculum. Accommodating their regular weekly lessons, the students this year now create targeted questions for each unit in the modules and create presentations per unit. The team then competes with each other after their lessons are completed. Ms. Lau then decides whether or not each student had mastered the subject before moving on.
The head coach for this year will likely remain the assistant principal, Mr. Alan Stack, due to Ms. Lau’s busy schedule.
“I love how everyone is friendly and competitive at the same time,” said newcomer Ivy Li ‘18, “I love learning weird facts about animals and teaching about a topic in ocean is helping me build confidence in my everyday life.”
The team members are very excited for newcomers and want to see how they play in an actual tournament.
“It’s competitive but in the end, we’re all still a family,” said captain of the B team, Saleh Salem ‘18, “It’s rigorous but as long as you keep up, it’s worth it.”
Usually Ms. Lau approaches potential team members, which most of the time are her outgoing students since she knows them well. However, for students who are eager to join can directly approach Ms. Lau on her off hours.