Amid cheers and high fives, Hopkins School in New Haven took first place at the Connecticut Science Olympiad held at the on Saturday.
The team of high school students, coached by Sarah Leite and Jennifer Stauffer, has earned the chance to compete for a national title at Central Florida University in Orlando in May.
This will be the school’s fourth trip to nationals in as many years.
Hopkins has taken first place in the state tournament since it first entered in 2009.
Started by a group of classroom teachers in 1984, the Science Olympiad is now a nationwide organization with more than 6,000 teams throughout the United States actively competing in tournaments.
“[The Olympiad] is good for the kids,” said Brendan Herlihy, Director of the Connecticut Science Olympiad.
“It allows you to put together kids who have a lot of different abilities, who may not necessarily be doing well in school,” he said. “But this gets their interest.”
Saturday’s daylong challenge attracted nearly 400 students from 18 high schools across the state.
was among the schools is attendance. When asked about the team’s chances of placing at the event, Alex Choi, a senior at E.O. Smith, said he believed his team would fare well in competition.
“We’ll be excellent,” Choi said. “You can quote me on that.”
Throughout the day, students vied for bragging rights in a variety of scientific categories ranging from astronomy to technical problem solving to tower building.
“I think we did alright,” said Dmitri Ostapenko, a senior at Hamden High School of his team’s performance in tower building. “We weren’t as prepared as we thought we would be, but we’ll do okay,” he said.
The day’s top finishers received trophies and medals, while some lucky competitors - chosen at random - were awarded around $14,000 worth of prizes in scholarships and enrollment in technical camps.
Miranda Morris, a freshman at Wilton High School, said that although it was her first time competing, she was able to take away something positive from the experience.
“Today was fun,” Morris said. “I enjoyed working together as a team to build something.”
The following schools placed Saturday:
- 1st – Hopkins School, New Haven
- 2nd – South Windsor High School
- 3rd – Wilton High School
- 4th – Farmington High School
- 5th – The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville
Lyme-Old Lyme won the state championship for middle schools last weekend in Farmington, and will also make the trip to Orlando.
A complete list of competing schools can be found below:
- Lewis Mills High School, Burlington
- Hamden High School
- Farmington High School
- Miss Porter’s School, Farmington
- Glastonbury High School
- The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville
- Joseph Foran High School, Milford
- Hopkins School, New Haven
- New Fairfield High School
- Brien McMahon High School, Norwalk
- Putnam Science Academy
- South Windsor High School
- E.O. Smith Regional High School, Storrs
- Waterford High School
- The Taft School, Waterford
- Weston High School
- Wilton High School
- Woodstock Academy