IBy Nicholas Plante ’18
In January 2013, a group of students at Yale University used their expertise in various STEM fields to form the Yale Undergraduate Science Olympiad. Since initiating a student-organized Science Olympiad, the organization has enabled high schools in the northeastern United States to share their love for science in a competitive setting through an invitational tournament. Chaminade’s Varsity A Science Olympiad team was fortunate and talented enough to make their second trip to New Haven, Connecticut to participate in the Third Annual Yale Invitational on Saturday, January 30.
Although Chaminade held no classes on Friday in observance of the feast day of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, the dedicated Varsity A Flyers met in the physics lab that afternoon. After running a few final tests and packing the bus, the team dined together at the nearby Cugini Pizzeria and Ristorante. Led by head coach Bro. Benjamin Knapp, S.M. ’93, the team then departed for the Hampton Inn in New Haven and arrived with plenty of time to unwind and relax before their busy day. The students talked and bonded until falling asleep in their respective rooms. The next day started rather early with a 5:30 A.M. wake up call, and the Flyers quickly dressed for the events, enjoyed breakfast, and set off to Yale University.
The competition itself deviated from the standard high school events in which the Varsity A generally competes. Unlike the single-building set-up in a high school, different buildings throughout Yale’s campus hosted the various Science Olympiad events. In a way, the invitational provided a preview of college life at Yale.
The Flyers fared well in the intense environment, despite some major challenges. Several of the schools in the tournament had also recently participated in national-level tournaments, and scheduling conflicts inhibited two valuable Flyers from attending the competition. Combatting these obstacles coupled with the demanding nature of this invitational, the Flyers managed to take home 10th place of 48 teams, improving from last year’s 19th place finish. All fifteen team members worked hard, and excellent guidance from Bro. Benjamin ’93, Mr. Joseph Amorizzo ’07, Mr. Pasquale Razzano, and Mr. Peter Sennert ’11 allowed the team to capture a top-ten finish.
Brothers Thomas Graham ’16 and Joseph Graham ’17 stole the show, bringing home first-place medals in Air Trajectory and Robot Arm, as well as a third-place medal in Wright Stuff. The Graham brothers had previously worked together for several competitions, earning a first place finish in Robot Arm at Columbia.
Senior brother Tom highlighted the advantages of this fraternal pairing, saying, “Working with someone you know is really helpful. Working with your brother or someone so close to you makes it so much better.”
Aside from their impressive finish, the team members were able to enjoy themselves and the environment around them. “We spent a lot of fun time together,” said Christopher Mercadante ’18. “Plus, Yale’s beautiful campus helped us all remain level-headed during a time of stiff competition.”
Congratulations to all who participated in the Yale Invitational!