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Members of the Huntley High School Science Olympiad team have been competing—and succeeding—this year, albeit in a very different format from previous years.

“This year, Illinois Science Olympiad was on their A-game and organized a way for the high school kids to do Science Olympiad Virtually,” said Allison Tuleo, HHS chemistry teacher and Science Olympiad assistant coach.

The state organization has continued to hold competitions throughout the pandemic period using a virtual platform.

On November 21, HHS students participated on two teams in the first Virtual Science Olympiad Tournament in Illinois along with 72 other teams. The HHS teams came in 1st and 2nd at the division level, while earning 14 individual medals in 14 different events.

On December 5, the two HHS teams competed virtually in the Harlem High School Science Olympiad, taking the 2nd and 4th spots in their division. In addition, they took firsts in Anatomy and Physiology, Disease Detectives, Dynamic Planet, and Fossils, along with numerous other top five finishes.

Competitions have been held using an online platform called Scilympiad, which was developed in support of Science Olympiad competition in California. Using that platform, coaches can manage teams, assign students to events, and administer competition tests.

For competitions, students in a particular event receive an email with an assigned code that allows them to access their tests at a specific time. Working in pairs, students complete the test with their partner, communicating via chat or video chat platforms, typically on their phones. The students can ask questions regarding the tests with the event supervisor who is active on the chat while the test is taking place.

“In a world with no normalcy for students, this has been an awesome thing,” Tuleo said. “Students are waking up early on Saturdays, taking tests in several different science disciplines, and flat out going the extra mile.”

The HHS team is coached by Justin Stroh, Elina Ahn, and Allison Tuleo.