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Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony is a celebration to share in the excitement of the start of the National Tournament. This is an opportunity for all competitors to show their team spirit.

Keynote Speaker

Tom Lange

Thomas J. Lange
Director, Modeling & Simulation
Global Capability Organization Corporate R&D
The Procter & Gamble Company

Lange joined Procter & Gamble in May 1978, as a Product Technical Engineer. He has spent his 34 year career modeling and simulating formulations, products and production systems—from how hot air roasts peanuts and coffee, to how baby sizes affect diaper leaks. In the 1990s, he led the Reliability Engineering and early Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) adoption in Paper (Pampers, Always, Bounty & Charmin). In 1994, Lange received the PRISM (Professional Recognition Individual Sustained Mastery) award, the highest career achievement award in P&G Engineering. In 1999, Lange was named the Process and CAE Associated Director for Corporate Engineering.

Currently, Lange is the Director of Modeling & Simulation in Corporate R&D. In this role, he leads P&G’s Modeling & Simulation efforts, spanning the scales from atoms through production systems to the store shelf. This includes the disciplines of Consumer Modeling, Computational Biology & Chemistry, CAE (Structures, Fluids, Dynamics, Controls, Chemical Engineering, Empirical), and Production System Throughput & Reliability. External to P&G, Tom serves on the several advisory boards for Sandia Engineering Sciences, Purdue University and is currently the Executive Board President for NDMEC a public private partnership for M&S serving Small and Mid-sized Enterprises.


The attire for the opening ceremony is casual and festive. Team attire varies. Some teams may wear their team shirts and fun hats. Other teams may dress in costumes based on a theme to represent their state or the location of the National Tournament. Some teams may bring their school mascot costume to be included in the Parade of States. Teams are encouraged to join in the festivities by showing their team spirit in creative, appropriate ways.


We are making every effort to seat all the students and at least two coaches from each team together for both the Opening and Awards Ceremony. This will depend upon a reasonable number of students for each team. Please be sure to leave room at the end of your team’s row for the students who are in the Parade of States. All others must sit in open seating and no other arrangements will be made for reserved seating. Team seating assignments will be posted on the website and distributed to the coaches at registration. Members traveling with teams are not allowed to sit in designated VIP areas.

Parade of States

  • LINEUP for the Parade of States is at 5:30 p.m.
  • Teams should select a maximum of four students for the Parade of States; all other students are to be seated in their assigned seats.
  • Teams can represent their state and school by carrying a state flag and/or a school flag/banner. Many teams dress up to represent their state: “cheeseheads” from Wisconsin, “cowboys” from Texas, etc.
  • Please remember appropriate behavior and decorum in this ceremony. Don’t let the energy of the event lead to poor choices during the parade of states.
  • The banners and all materials MUST be shorter than 6 feet wide and 10 feet tall.
  • The Spirit Award will be conferred at the closing ceremony, but much of the judging will happen during the Parade of States. We will judge your students on enthusiasm, effort, and how they represent their state.
  • Team members will report no later than 5:30 p.m. and line up at their location in the designated area.
  • Signs will be taped to the wall with team number and team name. 
  • Bring all supplies and materials with you need for the parade.
  • Instructions for participants in the parade of state. (Coaches, please be sure your designated students are aware of these instructions):
    • Teams will stay in the designated order.
    • When the Parade of States begins, students will proceed, in alternating order (stage left and right) along the front of the stage and proceed down the center aisle toward the back of the arena.
    • B Teams will turn left at the end of the center aisle and proceed directly to the assigned team seating locations.
    • C Teams will turn right at the end of the center aisle and proceed directly to the assigned team seating locations.
  • For the remaining of the Opening Ceremony, you will need to keep the materials with the team by putting them next to your team’s row in the aisle.

Swap Meet

Immediately after the Opening Ceremony teams proceed to the Swap Meet to trade/swap items they have brought with them. The swap meet is a chance for teams to proudly show off their state and to learn something new about other states. Be sure your team brings items to swap with other teams. These items could include hats, pins, stickers, pens, trinkets, or even oranges! Your chamber of commerce, local businesses, state visitors’ centers, and so on, are often willing to donate items. Everyone on the team should have at least 10 items to exchange and many students exchange more than 10 items! Students may not sell anything. Great ways to have parents help with your preparation for Nationals, prior to your departure for Nationals, assign some parents to collect items for the students to swap and make Swap Bags for all the students.