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.


Taylor McKinley (7th grader) and John Shepherd (6th grader) competing in Solar System (answering questions about the Earth’s moon and other rocky bodies in our Solar System)

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.

Feature photo: Judy Goetzl and Carson Pusser (5th graders) competing in Potions and Poisons (chemical analyzation of household chemicals and toxins).



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