OzCLO is the Australian Computational Linguistics Olympiad. I participated in it during high school. In Grade 10, my junior team beat out the third best senior team in our state, so they actually didn’t participate in the national round. In the regional round, we came first for juniors, and then in my senior year we came first in our state (i.e. in the regional round).

I thoroughly enjoyed all of my experiences to do with OzCLO during high school. I remember being inspired by the key team from the grade above us, who consisted of incredibly bright and wonderful people - they went to the international leg of the competition twice representing Australia (the competition was called IOLing at the time, but now is just IOL).

I am currently quite excited as one of my good friends has been permitted to head to the Isle of Man for this year’s IOL.

When we went to the national round in Year 10, my friends and I were given a batch of what was called “destiny juice” to celebrate after partaking in the competition. Destiny juice is this weird concoction of highly concentrated energy drinks, cordial, and look honestly I don’t know what else went into that thing. We got to ditch school, walk to the venue, eat complementary snacks (fruits, pastries, etc.), panic for fun, and then when we had the destiny juice, I distinctly recall walking through the school feeling like I was drunk (or at least, what I imagine the experience to be). I was walking from lower campus to upper swaying back and forth in an uncontrollable fit of giggles.

After this, we sort of became the OzCLO posse (emphasis on “sort of”, I just really wanted to seem cool for doing nerd stuff), along with the kids in the grade above us who were the poster children for OzCLO at that point. If they became poster children, we sort of became poster toddlers?

We didn’t even make it into nationals in Year 11 which was a bit of a lol moment, but it was cool to come first in the state for Year 12. Not for the flex or anything, but because OzCLO meant something to us, and it was nice to go out on a bang (it also would have been really cool to get to go to the international round, which was a key motivator for doing well, but not everyone can get so good).

All of these positive lingustics-related experiences led to one of my teammates now studying linguistics in her degree, and me being interested in pursuing careers around Bible translation after graduating from my current degree.