The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

Tenafly Takes on Cornell Science Olympiad


On Saturday, November 18, the atmosphere was nothing short of electrifying at Cornell University’s campus, where sixteen students representing Tenafly High School had convened to participate in Cornell University’s Science Olympiad, known colloquially as “Scioly.” The Cornell Science Olympiad tests students on their knowledge on various scientific fields through allowing them to engage in on-location experiments and undertake exams to compete for the top place in mini-competition events such as Anatomy, Chem Lab, Forensics, Fossils, and more. Schools are given an overall placement based on their group’s rankings in individual categories.

With 52 other schools from the northeastern region participating in the olympiad, competition was fierce for Tenafly, and the pressure was on. Hours upon hours were spent flipping through textbook pages and taking notes until the grips of carpal tunnel began to take hold, and there’s no doubt that all the studying can get monotonous and exhausting. Nonetheless, the team members have found their own ways to push through the ordeal.

“It definitely wasn’t easy,” remarked Shawn Lee (’25) upon recalling his studying routine for the olympiad. “But then again, nothing in life is easy. Personally, a saying that always keeps me going in difficult times goes as follows: ‘If you retreat, you will gain one step, but if you advance, you will gain two.’”

Though the preparation for Scioly was definitely a rigorous process, the tournament still proved to be a worthwhile and rewarding experience for the Scioly team. “Going through and reciting all the scientific information on our way to our examination rooms gave me moments to reflect on how much I learned,” Aidan Raghu (’25) said. “I was proud of my partner and the team for putting in all the work and studying for the competition.”

The sheer amount of studying involved as the olympiad loomed over the horizon was only one of the many hurdles that the Tenafly Scioly team had to leap over en route to the competition. And at the sprawling Cornell campus, the spaciousness of the grounds would turn out to be one more obstacle for the team to overcome. The task of hurrying to different locations for the events throughout the day at the Cornell campus was just as daunting as the olympiad itself for many of the Scioly team’s members. “It was a new place for most of us, so we didn’t know how to get around that quickly,” Pranav Suresh (’25) said. “Aidan and I almost missed our event because we got lost and had to use Google Maps.”

Despite these difficulties, unwinding and strolling around the scenic Cornell campus during event downtime was still a special experience. “Cornell was really beautiful. The library was just on a different level. We also passed through some of the schools there and got to see many students hard at work, and that was really cool,” added Suresh, who seems to have since overcome any grievances about his navigational ability.

Just as important as the squad’s tournament performance itself was the sense of camaraderie –– team synergy is invaluable to competing well, and the friendly atmosphere within the group was a huge encouragement to many first-time participants.

“It was my first time ever doing something like this,” Kiran Muttiah (’26) said. “So going into it, I was stressing about how I didn’t know anyone. But, honestly, the setting that we were placed in made it really easy for me to [make new friends in the team]. From the get-go, I kind of got the idea that this isn’t just a school group going for a competition, but more like a tight-knit group of friends who share interests and goals and are really just having fun together.”

Andrew Lee (’24) also emphasized that team bonding time was of particular importance during the trip. “Whether it be getting good food together at collegetown after competing or taking scenic pictures on campus as we admire the sunset, these experiences are memories that I will forever cherish. It is through these instances that we are able to connect and grow stronger as a team.”

Overall, Tenafly High School placed 23rd out of 53 competing schools in addition to winning an award for Best Spirit, with the Chem Lab team––Andrew Lee (’24) and Derek Cho (’24)––securing an impressive 5th place!

The team looks forward to future events to come. “As for our many upcoming competitions, I’m confident that we’ll bring home many medals at regionals and invitationals, especially with the immense potential of our younger team members,” Cho said.

Congratulations to the Tenafly Science Olympiad team for placing within the top half of contestants!

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About the Contributor
Linda Xing
Linda Xing, Staff Writer
Linda Xing ('25) is excited to be a Staff Writer for The Echo this year.