Thursday April 12, 2018
South Burlington High School (SBHS) took top honors at the first ever Vermont Science Olympiad Tournament held recently at Castleton University. Science Olympiad is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of K-12 science education, increasing student interest in science, creating a technologically literate workforce, and providing recognition for outstanding achievement by both students and teachers. According to SBHS science teacher Amy Listenik, prior to this year, every state but Vermont had their own Science Olympiad chapter and SBHS students would be guest competitors at the New Hampshire Science Olympiad. Listenik says, “This year, a professor at Castleton University, Timothy Thibodeau, decided to undertake the task of putting together the first official Vermont chapter and hosting the first Vermont State competition.” The winning SBHS team, one of 11 teams from five different schools that competed in early March, placed top three in 11 of the event’s competitions and won the day.
“While I am considered a ‘coach’ in the eyes of the Science Olympiad competition, I give 100 percent of credit to the students,” said Listenik, adding, “They worked tirelessly to recruit students and put together three amazing SBHS teams - one of which took home the first place, first ever, Vermont State Science Olympiad trophy! The kids work so hard and it is such a pleasure to see them succeed!”
As winners, SBHS is invited to compete at the May National Science Olympiad Tournament in Colorado, where approximately 120 teams from across the U.S. compete head-to-head. Unfortunately, the national competition falls during an inopportune time, explains Listenik, “Given the costs to travel to Colorado, interference with AP exams, spring sports, and prom, the leaders of the group made the tough decision to offer their spot at nationals to the second-place team, St. Johnsbury Academy. They are proud of their win and wish St. J the best of luck!” She adds, “Although the three founders of the club will graduate in June, the remaining members are committed to a repeat win next year. The 2019 national competition will be held at Cornell University - a much more doable travel distance!”