Students excel in Chemistry Olympiad

Published 12:33 pm Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Virginia Section of the American Chemical Society sponsors regional high school participation in the National Chemistry Olympiad competition. Each year, high schools in the region are invited to have students participate in the local section by taking one of two exams: the First Year Exam for beginning chemistry students and the Second Year Exam for AP Chemistry students.

Additionally, schools are broken down into two categories: small school and small Governor’s School Category and large school and large Governor’s School Category. This year, 13 schools participated.

Five schools were in the small school and small Governor’s School Category (schools with total enrollment under 600) with the rest being in the large school and large Governor’s School Category.

One-hundred-fifty students competed on the first year exam, and a total of 112 students competed on the second year exam.

Dr. Gary Lutz’s AP Chemistry class at Prince Edward County High School participated in the competition. The members of the class are Connor Burke, Ricardo Diaz, Kait Hosmer, Christian Kinzer, Henry Lutz, Colton Sheehan and Ratib Stwodah. A Team Award is given to the school with the highest five combined scores within a given category and exam. Prince Edward County won the Team Award for the second year exam in the large school and Large Governor’s School Category.

This makes the second consecutive Team Award for Prince Edward County since Ricardo Diaz, Christian Kinzer, Henry Lutz and Colton Sheehan combined to win the Team Award for the first-year Exam during last year’s competition.

The School Award is given to the school with the highest overall average on a given exam. The school must have at least seven participants, and the highest and lowest scores from each school are removed when calculating the average.

This year, Prince Edward County won the School Award for the second-year exam. Students with the top three scores for each exam and in each category are given gift certificates. Henry Lutz was the winner of the gift certificate for having the highest score on the second-year exam in the large school and large Governor’s School Category. Henry Lutz, Colton Sheehan, Kait Hosmer and Ratib Stwodah qualified to take the National Level Exam which was an all-day event held at James Madison University.

By Olympiad rules, only two students from a given school can take the National exam. The top two qualifiers were Lutz and Sheehan and they represented Prince Edward County at the National Exam.

Unfortunately, they were not among the 20 finalists from across the United States that were invited to attend the Chemistry Olympiad Study.