The University of Central Oklahoma was once again home to the State Finals Tournament on March 25th. 22 Division B teams and 11 Division C teams competed in 46 events, ultimately for the right to represent Oklahoma at the National Science Olympiad Tournament at Wright State University on Dayton, Ohio.
Results for Division B:
1st Place Casady MS B2, Oklahoma City
2nd Place Whittier MS B21, Norman
3rd Place Central MS B1, Bartlesville
4th Place Sequoyah MS B9, Claremore
Results for Division C:
1st Place Casady HS C3, Oklahoma City
2nd Place Jenks HS C8, Jenks
3rd Place Southmoore HS C10, Moore
4th Place Putnam City HS C6. Oklahoma City
But the story of this tournament is not just in the results. It starts with the all of the Coaches and students who made up the 43 member teams that participated in the Oklahoma Science Olympiad this year. Their hard work, dedication and persistence through the a season that began with the first training conference in September shows in the consistent growth and learning that was on exhibit Saturday and throughout the season in the invitational tournaments in November, January and February.
The next big part of the season just concluded is those invitational tournaments. Hundreds of volunteers and thousands of man-hours were expended to organize and produce the tournaments in Broken Arrow at Oneta Ridge, Putnam City at PC North, and at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant. Special thanks go to Sara Bailey for her job directing the Broken Arrow Tournament. Mike Malahy took the lead with significant assistance from Jan Watson and Benton Shriver to produce the Putnam City Tournament. Dr. Tim Smith marshaled the resources and staff of Southeastern State to produce the wonderful tournament last month in Durant.
None of these tournaments can occur without tremendous effort from what has become an army of volunteers who serve as event supervisors and event helpers. These are tremendous folks who work or study in STEM careers and professions. Some are college professors, others are experimental researchers or engineers, some are STEM educators, and some are undergraduate or graduate students who are completing their academic studies in STEM. They come from Southeastern State, Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, Rose State College, and the University of Oklahoma. They work for Oklahoma Mesonet and NOAA, the State of Oklahoma, the OU Health Science Center, OMRF, the Sooner Flight Academy, Science Museum Oklahoma, and public and private k-12 schools across the state. They belong to student organizations like Beta Beta Beta, the honor society of Biology majors and Pick and Hammer, the Geology club of the University of Oklahoma. For some, the state tournament was their first encounter with Science Olympiad; others make time to serve at every tournament. At the state tournament, at least 2 Event Supervisors are Science Olympiad Alumni, having participated in Science Olympiad before entering university studies and ultimately gaining employment in STEM professions. Together our volunteers are a diverse group of people who have volunteered their time, talent, and expertise to give back to the next generation of STEM students and professionals.
Finally, much thanks to Dr. Beth Allen and the University of Central Oklahoma for the support of Science Olympiad this school year. Beth has a long history of leadership in science education in this state and nation-wide. She is the current Director of the College Science Teaching Division on the Board of Directors of the National Science Teachers Association, is a Past President of the National Science Education Leadership Association, a Past President of the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association, a member of the Board of Governors for Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, and the long-time Director of the Central Oklahoma Regional Science Fair and the Director of our State Finals Tournament. The efforts of the university now extend beyond being host to the state tournament. UCO now serves as the home of the Oklahoma Olympiad and it’s year-round administration.