North Attleborough High School joins Bio-Olympiad

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North Attleborough High School
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By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

North High students have spearheaded the school’s inclusion in the International Biology Olympiad.

NAHS students Sai Ravi and Apranya Pandit brought a proposal to Principal Peter Haviland for the school to join the academic competition. Consisting of a state, regional, and international level, teams take part in a series of tests and laboratory experiments. Many of the tests will provide students the chance to apply what they have learned in AP Biology and similar classes.

Should the school reach the international portion of the Olympiad, students will take part in a 10-day instructional portion followed by the testing and lab work. This will include utilizing laboratory techniques such as chromatography, methods of studying plant anatomy, and gel electrophoresis.

We’ll learn some high-level bio components,” said Ravi.

The International Biology Olympiad (IBO) is for high school students under the age of 20. The program has gradually expanded to include more than 70 participating countries across five continents.

Thus far, 15 students have signed up for North Attleborough High School’s team. Teacher Stacia Williams, who is serving as a mentor for the team, said that the blend of male and female students is good to see, as this experience may inspire them to pursue careers in the field. At North Attleborough High School, there are a number of women teaching science classes—four for biology, one in anatomy, two in chemistry, and one in environmental science.

The kids are seeing that trend,” said Williams. “Men have had a greater presence in sciences, but we’re getting to see that women are doing these things also.”

This will be the first time NAHS has taken part in the Bio-Olympiad, and to help the team prepare, a Biology Club has been formed. Though the competition won’t begin until next February, the work has begun in earnest. Pandit said the IBO web site has a lot of information on which topics they can review.

We’ll do a different one each week,” he said.

Even with so much time, Ravi said it will be a challenge to review everything.

The goal is to be open-minded,” he said of the studying. “We’ll be looking for [educational] resources.”