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O’Neal Hosts Third Annual Science Olympiad Invitational Tournament

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January 10, 2018                                                                     

O’Neal Hosts Third Annual Science Olympiad Invitational Tournament

Wilmington Academy of Arts and Sciences School Wins

Southern Pines – Recently, The O’Neal School hosted its third annual Science Olympiad Invitational Tournament. Eleven schools registered sixteen teams.

Wilmington Academy of Arts and Sciences won the tournament with Piedmont IB Middle School from Charlotte placing second. Carnage Magnet Middle School placed third, The Oakwood School of Greenville, NC came in fourth and Thales Academy (Roseville) rounded out the team trophies with a fifth place finish.

Competitive events are STEM related activities ranging from competing with pre-built items, like Wright Stuff, Tower  Building, Hovercraft, Naked Egg Drop, Battery Buggy, Ping Pong Parachute and Duct Tape Challenge, to interactive activities using provided materials, like Road Scholar and Science Crime Busters, to tests of scientific knowledge like Meteorology, Rocks and Minerals, Reach for the Stars, Ecology and Anatomy. Over two hundred and twenty individual event medals and five team trophies were awarded.

The tournament was directed by O’Neal Middle School Science Teacher Boyd Grayson, with the purpose of providing schools with an opportunity to ready for regional and state Science Olympiad competitions. O’Neal’s tournament is the only 25 Event, Division B Science Olympiad Invitational Tournament in the United States. Regional tournaments will be held in February and the state tournament typically happens in April.

In his fifth year teaching at O’Neal, Boyd Grayson came from Dallas, Texas, having last taught at Greenhill School for 12 years. During his time at Greenhill, he served for many years as a National Event Supervisor for Science Olympiad. He was appointed to and is a current member of the National Science Olympiad Earth Science Rules Committee by the President of Science Olympiad. Boyd and his wife Tami created and directed many Science Olympiad Invitational Tournaments involving up to 60 schools not only from Texas but teams would also travel from as far away as Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico to attend these nationally recognized Science Olympiad Tournaments.

“The O’Neal School’s administration and parents have been incredibly supportive of the Science Olympiad Program for the past four years.” says Grayson. “It is an honor to be a part of a school that allows new and exciting ideas to come to light in the areas of science education. Science Olympiad is the premier science competition in the U.S. Not only is it a tremendous S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teaching and learning tool, it also emphasizes teamwork, character and dedication. On top of all that, it is truly a pleasure to see and work with young people as they explore all aspects of the scientific world. The future of science education in America is in good hands with Science Olympiad!” In only its third year, the O’Neal Science Olympiad Invitational Tournament has already received national recognition.

Cited from a release from St. Andrews University — The first recorded Science Olympiad was held 43 years ago at St. Andrews. Dr. Donald Barnes and Dr. David Wetmore were the originators of this event. Fifteen schools from North and South Carolina and Virginia participated in this event. This Olympiad was a daylong event, with competitions and demonstrations for high school students in the areas of biology, chemistry, and physics. There were four event periods during this day, and each event period had one fun event (like beaker race or paper airplane), one demonstration (like glassblowing and holography), and one serious event (like periodic table quiz or Science Bowl). An article by Wetmore was published in the Journal of Chemical Education in January of 1978 documenting the success of recruiting students through Science Olympiad. Education leaders who observed the Olympiad took the concept to the national level in 1985. Today, 7500+ teams in all 50 states compete in Science Olympiad.

The Science Olympiad Tournament Goals stated from the national website ( are as follows:

  • To bring science to life, to show how science works, to emphasize problem solving aspects of science and the understanding of science concepts.
  • To develop teamwork and cooperative learning strategies among students.
  • To make science education more exciting so more students will enroll in science courses and engage in other science activities like science reading, fairs, meetings and field trips.
  • To promote high levels of achievement and a commitment to excellence, to demonstrate that American students can perform at levels that surpasses expectations of even practicing scientists and engineers.
  • To attract more students particularly females and minorities to professional and technical careers in science, technology and science teaching.

O’Neal is a college preparatory, independent day school. Presently, it serves students from pre-kindergarten age 3 through 12th grade. O’Neal is dedicated to the development of academic excellence, strength of character and physical well-being of its students in an environment where self-discipline, integrity and consideration for others are fundamental. The School is dually accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS). Tuition assistance is available.

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