Catalyst Update for May 2016

SCIENCE OLYMPIAD CAMP: The Manual Science Olympiad Team is running their annual SciOly camp June 6-June 10. Please spread the word to middle schoolers and rising 9th graders who may be interested in learning more about Science Olympiad competition and improving their SciOly skills. Register here. For more information check out the camp flyer.

MST CAMP: This year’s MST camp for incoming 9th graders will take place July 25-29. Please contact Mr. Zwanzig if your incoming 9th grader would like to attend or if your current Manual student would like to volunteer.


President – Ann Schwartz
1st VP – Maureen Brekka
2nd VP – Keith Robbins
Parliamentarian – Vidya Ravichandran
Secretary – Barbara Coffield
Treasurer – Mike Morgan

Thank you to the parents that attended the last board meeting and unanimously voted in next year’s Catalysts Board. The slate for committee chairs is currently being filled. If you are interested in helping on a Catalysts Committee, please contact Vidya Ravichandran for more information.

MST DISTINGUISHED SCHOLAR AWARD: At the Junior Ring Ceremony the MST teachers select students who have excelled in the fields of Math, Science, and/or Technology during their time at Manual. We would like to congratulate this year’s award winners; Lavanya Kanneganti, Mukund Venkatakrishnan, Vaannila Annadurai, Nelson Penn, Manassa Sunkara, Matthew Raj, Abraham Riedel-Mishaan, Diya Mathur, Sophia Korner, Harsha Paladugu, Emily Liu, Sara Frigui, and SooKyung Lee. We would also like to thank Vidya Ravichandran and Vik Chadha, Amy and Sterling Lapinski, and Jane and Ted Smith who sponsored the award and enabled the MST magnet to give inscribed vases to the award recipients. If you or your business is interested in sponsoring this award in the future, please contact Keith Robbins.

CLUB SPOTLIGHT: Science Olympiad (SciOly)

Student Leadership:     Senior officers: Kevin Tien, Amanda Tu, Sarah Schwartz, and Joy Li and Junior officers: Emily Liu, Manting Xu, Sophia Korner, and Lavanya Kanneganti

Teacher Sponsors: Mr. Christian Jensen (Head Coach), Mr. Glenn Zwanzig, Mr. Robert Baar 

  1. What is the mission of Science Olympiad Club at Manual?

Science Olympiad’s mission is to train the next generation of science- and problem solving-minded students who develop transferrable skills in scientific processes, critical thinking, and teamwork through competition. The official Science Olympiad website ( states: “Science Olympiad competitions are like academic track meets, consisting of a series of 23 team events in each division (Division B is middle school; Division C is high school). Each year, a portion of the events are rotated to reflect the ever-changing nature of genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering and technology. By combining events from all disciplines, Science Olympiad encourages a wide cross-section of students to get involved. Emphasis is placed on active, hands-on group participation. Through Science Olympiad, students, teachers, parents, principals and business leaders bond together and work toward a shared goal.”

  1. What are the requirements to become a SciOly member?

Any Manual student in any grade or magnet can join SciOly! Members must sign up at the beginning of the year (usually by October) and pay dues in the fall. In November, the officers hold event-specific tryout testing for all students who have paid. Any students who try out in November are considered members of Science Olympiad.

Based on individual availability and tryout results, students are sorted onto teams for each of the tournaments throughout the year (typically one to four invitationals plus one regional, one state, and one national competition). Science Olympiad rules stipulate that each competitive team must comprise 15 students who compete in a total of 23 different events (each event requires two or three students, so most students compete in three or four events total).

  1. How many students are there in SciOly this school year?

SciOly has approximately 100 active members this year.

  1. What activities have members been involved in over the past few months?

Our competitors have attended several invitational competitions over the past few months, all in preparation for our regional competition where our three teams placed first, second, and third in the region. We competed at the Kentucky state tournament on April 23 where our two teams placed 2nd and 3rd.

  1. What are some goals for the rest of the year?

We had a great season and look forward to our SciOly summer camp. This camp is for middle schoolers and rising 9th graders. We were able to raise a lot of money last summer which helped cover our travel to invitationals. We hope to run another successful camp session which takes place June 6-10th. See our flyer for additional information. Mail in the registration form or register online.

  1. Why do you think students should consider becoming members of SciOly?

Lots of reasons! Science Olympiad allows students to expand their field of scientific knowledge in very specific subject areas. Whereas in other science-related extracurriculars, students may be asked to study, say, biology or physics broadly, Science Olympiad competitors have the opportunity to focus their expertise on some combination of anatomy, geology, epidemiology, and many more individual topics. Science Olympiad also allows students with skill in engineering and building to compete in events of interest, often alongside students who enjoy pure scientific study.

Finally, and arguably most importantly, Science Olympiad teaches the value of teamwork, communication, and leadership. Science Olympiad is a unique academic extracurricular in that students do not advance individually; they can only succeed as a group. Further, all Science Olympiad tests and events are taken as either pairs or trios. Though the idea of working cohesively with others may be intimidating or off-putting to some students, it is in fact one of the most transferrable skills that will be useful in high school, college, and beyond.

For more information on SciOly: SciOly FAQ’s and Manual’s SciOly Website


SciOly Camp……………….………..June 6-10, 9:00pm-3:00pm

MST Camp…………………….….…July 25-29

Sr Registration              A-L……Aug 1, 8:00am-9:00am       M-Z…….Aug 1, 9:15am-10:15am

Jr Registration              A-L….…Aug 1, 11:30am-12:30pm   M-Z……Aug 1, 12:45pm-1:45pm

Soph Registration        A-L….…Aug 2, 8:00am-10:00am    M-Z…….Aug 2, 10:30am-12:30pm

Fr Registration               A-F….…Aug 3, 8:00am-9:00am       G-L……..Aug 3, 9:30am-10:30am

M-R…..…Aug 3, 12:00pm-1:00pm      S-Z…….Aug 3, 1:30pm-2:30pm

Make-up Day                Sr/Jr…Aug 8, 8:00am-11:00am       So/F….Aug 8, 1:00pm-3:00pm

First Day of School………….…..Aug 10

Thank you for your support of our students, staff, and school. Please feel free to email Ann Schwartz if you would like to include anything MST related in next month’s Catalysts Newsletter.