Success is a Community Effort for Solon High School Science Olympiad Program
Since joining Science Olympiad in 1992, Solon High School has grown into one of the strongest and most reputable Science Olympiad programs in the country. It has claimed first place at the Ohio Science Olympiad state tournament eight times and won four national titles (1998, 2011-2013).
Maintaining this legacy isn’t easy, but it’s a task first-year head coach Cherese Fiorina is willing to tackle. She joins experienced assistant coach Bridget Eickmeier and new assistant coach Nick Maurer in the quest to keep Solon High’s program thriving.
“Our program is built upon the support of several key groups—motivated and talented students, involved parents, hard-working coaches and a supportive school administration,” Fiorina said. “Our students’ hard work and passion for science are what enables them to do so well. Parents, coaches and administrators simply facilitate the process.”
Familiarity is how many first get involved with Science Olympiad. For Fiorina, all three of her children were members of Solon’s Science Olympiad teams. When the head coach position opened, she saw the opportunity to give back to the program and continue its success.
Solon senior Pranav Iyer followed in his older brother’s footsteps and joined Solon’s team. Years later, he remains involved because of the people. “I love the overnight competitions and spending time with the team. Getting to know other amazing, smart and driven individuals who also share a passion for science is the best part.”
Fellow senior Aman Jain agrees with his teammate about the “people” aspect of joining Science Olympiad. “It is great to be surrounded by really smart and dedicated people that love learning about science as much as I do. Many of my closest friends have come from SO, and a lot of people (now graduates) have served as role models for me.”
Joining a program can be intimidating, regardless of if you join as a coach or a student. Jain encourages students to give Science Olympiad a chance. “There is bound to be at least one event from the 23 that you will like! It is a great way to explore your interests and make many great friends along the way. Competing is also very fun, and often rewarding if you work hard at what you do.”
Iyer adds that “it is a worthwhile investment, and all the knowledge learned and experiences had, I will cherish forever. Secondly, I would advise that you have to put the time in to get something out. Although it may be difficult when initially getting involved, as you keep learning and experimenting or building, it becomes far easier and more enjoyable.”
Coaches get just as much out of participating in Science Olympiad. Fiorina enjoys “seeing our students work together, learn about STEM and succeed as a team. We like winning, but it is just as much about the journey as the result.”
Ohio Science Olympiad allows students in grades 6-12 to demonstrate their skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Invitational tournaments in Ohio begin Saturday, November 18. Regional tournaments begin Saturday, February 24, culminating with the state tournament on Saturday, April 28 at The Ohio State University.
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