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Walnut valley Unified School District

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Suzanne Middle School Science Olympiad:  Truly a “Team Effort”

April 3, 2017

Story contributed by Susan Warren, Suzanne MS science teacher

Walnut, CA – Suzanne Middle School (SMS) was proud to compete in the 31st annual Science Olympiad Regional competition in Los Angeles, California on March 4, 2017.  Occidental College was a hub of activity with schools from all over Los Angeles County bringing their elementary, middle and high school super scientists.  The competition was fierce with 140 schools competing in a myriad of events for medals, trophies and the thrill of competition.  “This is what makes the Los Angeles Regionals so exciting,” said co-coach Mrs. Susan Warren, “I love the energy of these dedicated students.”

The SMS Science Olympiad team consisted of 30 students, two co-coaches, four associate coaches, and a chorus of supporting parents and family members.  At the L.A. Regionals, Suzanne brought 15 of its members to compete in the 23 events for Division B.  The competing members were:  Annabelle Chan, Kenneth Cher, Alice Chou, Andrea Jay Florendo, Kayla Hao, Lina Huang, Matthew Jiang, Michelle Jiang, Allison Lin, Yating (Bella) Liu, Lewis Lui, Jenny Shen, Jonathan Steele, Deven Tseng, and Joy Wang.  These students worked in teams of two to prepare for 23 events.  Most students competed in three to four events.  Some teams were focused on topics of anatomy and physiology, rocks and minerals, ecology, invasive species, forensics and meteorology.  Other teams pursued engineering and design, and constructed bottle rockets, towers, hovercrafts and a Rube Goldberg-type device.

“We were extremely excited to see that every member of the team medalled in at least one of their events,” said co-coach Ms. Julie Wilson, “It shows that each student made a valuable contribution to the team.  It was truly a team effort.”  Individual event team medals were awarded in the following 16 events:

Bottle Rockets:  1st place awarded to Andrea Jay Florendo and Allison Lin

Dynamic Planet:  1st place awarded to Jenny Shen and Deven Tseng

Ecology:  1st place awarded to Bella Liu and Lewis Lui

Invasive Species:  1st place awarded to Kayla Hao and Jenny Shen

Experimental Design: 2nd place awarded to Matthew Jiang, Bella Liu and Joy Wang

Hovercraft:  2nd place awarded to Lina Huang and Deven Tseng

Optics:  2nd place awarded to Michelle Jiang and Jonathan Steele

Scrambler:  2nd place awarded to Kayla Hao and Alice Chou

Wright Stuff:  2nd place awarded to Alice Chou and Allison Lin

Anatomy and Physiology:  3rd place awarded to Lina Huang and Michelle Jiang

Microbe Mission:  3rd place awarded to Kenneth Cher and Jenny Shen

Rocks and Minerals:  3rd place awarded to Michelle Jiang and Jonathan Steele

Meteorology:  4th place awarded to Lina Huang and Matthew Jiang

Food Science:  5th place awarded to Annabelle Chan and Joy Wang

Reach for the Stars:  6th place awarded to Annabelle Chan and Bella Liu

Wind Power: 6th place awarded to Kayla Hao and Lewis Lui

The combined team score, which factored in the strong event team scores, earned the SMS team a 3rd place trophy at the L.A. Regionals.  As a result, the team will now advance to the Southern California State Competition to be held at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) on April 8, 2017.  The SMS team enjoyed a brief celebration, and are now back to work, studying and preparing for the state competition.   The SMS team of students, teachers and family members will bring their “team effort” to the state competition.


Jenny Shen and Kayla Hao celebrate their 1st  place medal in Invasive Species.

SMS Competition Team:  (front row, left to right) Annabelle Chan, Allison Lin, Andrea Jay Florendo, Bella Liu, Michelle Jiang, Joy Wang, Lewis Lui, Deven Tseng; (second row, left to right) Alice Chou, Jenny Shen, Kayla Hao, Lina Huang, Jonathan Steele, Kenneth Cher, Matthew Jiang.

Andrea Jay Florendo and Allison Lin make last minute adjustments to their award-winning bottle rocket.