Walnut Valley Schools won numerous awards at the recent Los Angeles County Science Olympiad.
This Science Olympiad is the largest in the country, with 139 schools and nearly2,000 students competing at the elementary, middle school and high school levels.
The competition was held Feb. 23 at Occidental College.
Walnut High School placed 3rd out of 48 high schools and qualified to compete at the state level on April 6.
“This is the best any WVUSD high school team has ever done,” said advisor and science teacher Tony Goossens.
The Walnut High team medaled in 12 events, including all the engineering contests: Gravity Vehicle, Elastic-launched Glider, Boomilever, and Robotic Arm.
“This is an outstanding accomplishment. These students represented our school in the biggest Science Olympiad competition in the country and earned medals in more than half the events offered. They’ve been working since last September to prepare for this. I’m very proud of them and happy to see such great science students get recognition,” he said.
Brian Sonner, a sophomore, was thrilled with the victory.
“I knew our gravity vehicle had potential, but it was awesome to win first,” he said.
The Mustang team also earned 2nd in Disease Detectives and 3rd in Water Quality events.
The students worked every Friday evening from 7 to 11 p.m. and many Saturdays. Students competed in advanced physics, chemistry, biology, forensics, geology, astronomy, problem solving, anatomy as well as engineering. They designed gliders, gravity cars, structures that had to withstand high stress, and more.
Special recognition to parents Mr. and Mrs Sonner and Dr. Stouklov, who without their support, this could not have happened, Goossens said.
The Suzanne team took 6th Place in the Middle School B Division out of 39 middle schools and will also move on to the state competition.
The team, coached by science teacher Susan Warren, consisted of the following students; Ethan Lin, Felianne Teng, Joanna Li (6th grade); David Hou, Kyle Truong, Lena Trinh, Lydia Chan, Ryan Tsen, Martin Nguyen (7th grade); Ayesha Ng, Caroline Huang, Matthew Lutz-Paap, Michael Ding, Mike Bao, Sophia Ding (8th grade); and Christopher Wong (alternate).
“I am so proud of my team,” Warren said. “The expertise in science they gained from tremendous dedication and diligence, as well as their ability to work as a team, will stay with them long after the medals have faded.”
There were 23 events in Division B that covered a broad spectrum of science topics, such as heredity, anatomy, food science, forestry and water quality. Some events required students to design and construct an apparatus, such as a mousetrap vehicle, rotor egg drop, or even a musical instrument with which they perform.
Suzanne team members won individual event medals in 10 events: Shock Value -1st Place (Mike Bao and Michael Ding); Dynamic Planet - 3rd Place (Felianne Teng and Lydia Chan);Write It, Do It- 4th Place (Caroline Huang and Ryan Tsen);Boomilever - 4th Place (Ethan Lin and Ryan Tsen); Rocks and Minerals - 4th Place ( Lena Trinh and Lydia Chan); Meteorology- 4th Place (Joanna Li and Felianne Teng);Reach for the Stars- 4th Place (Joanna Li and Lydia Chan); Water Quality - 5th Place (Ayesha Ng and Sophia Ding); Keep the Heat - 5th Place (Sophia Ding and Mike Bao); and Heredity - 6th Place (Ayesha Ng and Caroline Huang.)
The South Pointe Middle School team earned medals in Anatomy, Keep the Heat, Heredity, Disease Detectives, and Egg Drop and will also advance to the state competition.
"I was thrilled when I heard South Pointe's name as one of the top 9 teams moving on to state competition,” said science teacher and advisor Crystal Dira.
“The contest was really tough this year compared to previous years, but our students worked hard and were able to medal in five events, she added. "Eighth grader, Leslie Sim, and 7th grader, Patrick Cai, placed 2nd in Anatomy, which is one of the most difficult events for Science Olympiad. This year, we also had help from two additional coaches, Mrs. Kojder and Ms. Muragishi. We look forward to the April 6 competition and to making both South Pointe and Walnut Valley proud."
Diamond Bar High School brought home medals in Technical Program Solving, Water Quality, and Anatomy.
Chaparral Middle School earned medals in Shock Value – 2nd Place, Boomilever – 3rd Place, and Meteorology -6th Place, finishing 24th for the competition, teacher and advisor Bob Patterson said.
--Courtesy of Walnut Valley Unified School District