Published 9:02 pm Monday, March 17, 2014
Nine students from four Suffolk city public schools channeled their inner alchemists during Saturday’s You Be The Chemist Challenge at BASF on Wilroy Road.
Mack Benn Jr., Driver, Elephant’s Fork and Oakland elementary schools all fielded contestants for the Chemical Education Foundation event, said Beverly Nedab, human resources manager at the BASF location.
Nedab said she had contacted fifth- through eighth-grade science teachers in Hampton Roads, and they in turn encouraged 472 students to try out for challenge qualifications by taking an online exam.
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The exam was based on information — going beyond what’s learned in the classroom — that was also provided online, she added.
Out of the nearly 500 students, 14 were asked to participate in the event, Nedab said, and nine of them actually did so.
“They had to answer questions, and there were eliminations, similar to ‘Jeopardy,’ she said, referring to the television quiz show. “There were eliminations at each round, until we got five that will be participating at the state.”
Those five students now moving on to the Virginia State Challenge, which will be held at BASF on April 26, are Brayden Conboy, Tyler Houk, William Snipes, Tristan Williams and Noah Hill, who was the round’s overall winner.
They will compete at state against other students from Loudon County and Fairfax County, Nedab said.
The top four contestants on Saturday received trophies, and all contestants received a BASF gift bag and T-shirt.
“It exposes them to more in-depth chemistry than perhaps they may get in their class study,” she said. “It shows the students how they can learn chemistry in a fun way.”
The students are excited to come to the BASF location, which hosted the event for the second year, Nedab said.
“We allow parents and students to see our daily work and how we perform safely at this site. This is a worthwhile event, and it also helps us brand our company.”