The Student News Site of Clague Middle School

The Cougar Star

The Student News Site of Clague Middle School

The Cougar Star

The Student News Site of Clague Middle School

The Cougar Star


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Clague Science Olympiad: Continuing Through 2024

Photo of (from left to right) Jayani Tavane, Jack Guo, Jerry Zuo, Ethan Zhu, Edwin Liang, Aarav Tirumali, Claire Svoboda, Christina Zhang, and Smitha Mohan (Middle) getting first place at UMICH invitationals after beating Slauson by ONE point.
Yani Qian
Photo of (from left to right) Jayani Tavane, Jack Guo, Jerry Zuo, Ethan Zhu, Edwin Liang, Aarav Tirumali, Claire Svoboda, Christina Zhang, and Smitha Mohan (Middle) getting first place at UMICH invitationals after beating Slauson by ONE point.

Over 7,500 schools in the U.S. attend Science Olympiad, including Clague Middle School. Middle school Science Olympiad is a competition where students compete in 23 events, where each event entails two people except for Experimental Design and Codebusters, which require three instead of two participants. Each event covers a specific topic in science such as chemistry, biology, earth science, and even physics. Unlike elementary school Science Olympiad, middle School Science Olympiad has multiple rounds of competitions like regionals, states, and nationals.

Each Science Olympiad team has a head coach. Clague’s head coach is Smitha Mohan.

Mohan has high hopes for this year. She coached Disease Detectives, Dynamic Planet and Write It Do It last season of Science Olympiad. “I was able to see how motivated the students participating in the Science Olympiad are. I could see their passion for learning all things science.”

That experience certainly inspired her to get involved in the Clague Scioly (Science Olympiad) board as the head coach, along with her fellow members on the board. With all of this, Mohan has ambition that she can bring great opportunities to Clague students.

“Being one of the top 60 teams nationally is definitely the ultimate goal of the competition. All of our students continually work towards that goal,” Mohan said. “Time will tell if we are able to make it to nationals this year, but I am sure that our students will learn a lot along the way, which is the true essence of the Science Olympiad competition.” 

Mohan thinks that preparing for Science Olympiad is a journey. There is always more practice needed for every event— every tournament is a learning opportunity where the teams look to make themselves stronger and learn more.

Mohan coaches two events. She coaches an event called Disease Detective along with her co-coach (grade) Rajonya Dey. Disease Detectives is an event about epidemiology. She says you get to learn about what an organization like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would do to keep our communities/nation healthy. She also coaches Write It Do It along with her co-coach junior Aditya Muli. “Write It Do It is an event about instruction-based building,” she said.  “Both of these events are fun to coach since I get to learn a lot myself along with my students.”

The Clague Science Olympiad team made it to nationals last year, but it is only because we had many strong team members back then. If we want to make it to nationals again, the club will need many more members.

“I would strongly encourage students to become a part of the Clague Science Olympiad,” Mohan said. “You would get to represent Clague in various tournaments and best of all, learning science is so much fun!”

Mohan’s son, seventh grader Aarav Tirumali, was a top team member this year and last year. “I think that all of my team members are top team members,” he said. “Being a team member, you have to study every day to get good results in the competitions and practicing with consistency is key.”

Tirumali has been working very hard for the past two years for the Science Olympiad primary team. A school is allowed to have a primary team and a secondary team. Primary team is allowed to advance to the state and national tournaments. Most members start in the secondary team and advance to the primary team.

As being the son of the head coach Tirumali doesn’t feel different. “It doesn’t feel any different actually.”

Tirumali does four of the 23 events. He is part of four event teams. Disease Detectives which is an event about epidemiology. Flight is all about assembling a model plane and flying it, Write It Do It is about following instructions to build, and Reach For The Stars is an event about astronomy.

Last year Tirumali made it to nationals, and many other people want to go to nationals again. “It’s really hard to say. We are still very early in the season. We will try to do our best to make it to the nationals,” he said.

Many events are very difficult, but some are notoriously known for their difficulty. Some are luck based while some are completely relying on skill. “Among the events that I participate in, I think Disease Detectives is the most difficult one because there is a lot to study in this event.” said Tirumali, “You have to learn many concepts in epidemiology and there is always something new to learn.”

Ethan Zhu, who is another member in the primary team, believes that Forestry is the hardest event. “Forestry, due to the different varieties of trees, diseases, and pests.” Forestry is an event about biology where you study plants and diseases.

Clague attended many invitationals this year(2023-24). Clague attended the following invitationals:

Southview Invitational, Sylvania, OH – 2nd place 

Cobra Invitational, Bloomfield Township, MI – 1st place

Great Lakes Invitational, Harrison Township, MI – 2nd place 

UMICH Invitational, Ann Arbor, MI – 1st place

The next competition will be the regionals on March 16, 2024. Regionals are competitions that decide who makes it to states. Each regional competition covers an entire county. Clague will attend the Washtenaw regionals competition. The team members are frantically preparing for regionals, but states will be the biggest challenge. 

States is the competition where the top two teams from most counties (some counties do not have schools in regionals) compete to go to nationals, only two teams can go to nationals per state. Currently, anyone can win. Our main state rivals are Slauson, Meads Mill, and Boulan Park.

Nationals is where the top schools across the country compete. Some states only have one school attend nationals but some states like Michigan, can send two schools to compete. Last year, Clague was one of those schools. There are also high school teams which compete separately. The High School Science Olympiad works the same as middle school but has some different events.

The Science Olympiad is a very fun and interesting competition to attend. There are many competitions throughout the school year. It is a fun experience and the Science Olympiad team hopes more members could participate in the events. It will help a lot for the team. The team relies on parents to coach and prepare for the competitions. They hope to grow the team and become one of the strongest teams in the Science Olympiad. So please consider joining the team, they would love to have you as a member.

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About the Contributor
Edwin Liang
Edwin Liang, Staff Writer
Edwin is a seventh grader. He is 12 years old. He likes to play tennis and solve rubiks cubes. His favorite subject is Math or Algebra. His favorite color is orange.

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  • J

    Jiang HuMar 22, 2024 at 3:19 pm

    Clague Science Olympiad team is absolutely the top one in Michigan, and deserves more spotlight.

  • Z

    Zhu LiMar 4, 2024 at 3:50 pm

    I would add that Clague Scioly cannot be successful without our coaches’ and parents hard work, for which we are super grateful. Many of the coaches are experts in the fields who are dedicated to lead our students to explore the world of science.