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Chemistry matters

Published 8:41pm Saturday, April 27, 2013

Suffolk students leave it all on the table

 

Two dozen Suffolk students duked it out over the periodic table, matter and reactions at BASF on Saturday morning during the city’s first participation in the Chemical Educational Foundation’s You Be The Chemist challenge.

Tracy Agnew/Suffolk News-Herald Chemistry whiz: Elephant’s Fork Elementary School student Noah Hill was the top Suffolk finisher in a state-level chemistry competition at BASF on Wilroy Road Saturday.
Tracy Agnew/Suffolk News-Herald
Chemistry whiz: Elephant’s Fork Elementary School student Noah Hill was the top Suffolk finisher in a state-level chemistry competition at BASF on Wilroy Road Saturday.

After the morning’s competition, five students advanced to the state level, which was held in the afternoon. However, none of the Suffolk students placed in the top three spots, the level necessary to advance to national competition in Philadelphia in June.

“They still did really well,” said Beverly Nedab, human resources manager with BASF. “We are so proud of all our students. Just to make it to this level was an accomplishment.”

More than 700 Suffolk students, mostly fifth-graders, started the competition several weeks ago by taking exams in class. Only 24 students advanced to Saturday’s round. This year marked the first time Suffolk participated in the annual contest.

“I was very nervous about it,” said Noah Hill, 10, of Elephant’s Fork Elementary School. “It’s kind of like when you’re up on the stage for a play.”

Noah had little reason to be nervous, though — he placed first in the local competition and was the highest-ranking Suffolk student in the state competition, placing ninth out of the 15 students.

The contestants received 96-page study booklets to review in preparation for the competition. Most of the Suffolk winners confessed to having read the entire thing.

“All 96 pages, I read them all,” said Jelena May, a 10-year-old who attends Elephant’s Fork Elementary School.

But Matthew Vigil, also 10, said he didn’t study much.

“Really, I wasn’t even prepared,” the Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School student said. “I just went in with my fingers crossed.”

Carter Stone, an 11-year-old Driver Elementary School student, said he also read the entire study guide.

“Some of the questions were a bit on the hard side, but it was pretty cool,” he said of the competition.

Isabella Thompson of Kilby Shores Elementary School was the fifth Suffolk student who advanced to the state round Saturday afternoon, which included five students each from Suffolk, Fairfax and Loudoun County.

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