On December 9, 2017, ‘Iolani’s Division B Science Olympiad Team amassed a total of 17 medals at the Mililani Invitational, surpassing even their longtime rival, Highlands Intermediate School. ʻIolani and Highlands have occupied the top two slots at every Hawaii State Finals Tournament since ʻIolani’s entry into the program in 2011.
In spite of their wonderful performance, not all the members were happy to play by Mililani’s rules. The host school omitted 11 out of 23 events and made it even worse by limiting each competitor to a maximum of three events. As a result, only a handful of students, if any, were able to schedule their events as planned. “In an academic competition with such a multitudinous variety of topics, like Science Olympiad, it can be very difficult to achieve mastery in all of your competing events,” said Katherine Kan ‘21, who was forced to enter three unmastered events out of her usual five. Kan, although not particularly optimistic, managed to place in all three of the events in which she competed. To the team’s delight, many of her peers managed similar results.
The students’ uncertainty upon arriving at the competition was evident in their speculation as to what the outcome of the invitational would be. “I don't think I even placed,” said Izec Lazor ‘23 after the rigorous series of tests, who did indeed end up taking home a medal. His teammates echoed his cries as they braced themselves for defeat. But, contrary to their answers in the competition, the team’s pessimistic predictions were largely incorrect, as ʻIolani students ascended the stage 17 times to claim glory for their scientific successes. As the students exchanged high-fives and words of congratulation, it became a consensual agreement among them that, albeit not their best, it wasn't a bad day’s work.
Although not without challenges along their path, the Division B Science Olympiad Team embodied the eminence, humility, and “One Team” spirit that fills ʻIolani with pride. The team shows much promise as they head into the Divison B Windward Regional Tournament to meet their rivals once again. “I'm confident that we'll do well enough move on to states, but, honestly, chances of beating Highlands are slim.” said Kaylie Kaneshiro ‘21. “We’ll have to put forth our very best effort in order to top them.”