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Grundy County students advance to regional chemist contest

You Be the Chemist Challenge winners from Mazon Verona Kinsman: Emma Franks, Tommy Cahill, Dylan Bryant. The regional contest is Feb. 24 in Seneca.
You Be the Chemist Challenge winners from Mazon Verona Kinsman: Emma Franks, Tommy Cahill, Dylan Bryant. The regional contest is Feb. 24 in Seneca.

After competing in their school level contests for the 2014 You Be the Chemist Challenge, 11 Grundy County students will be moving on to the regional contest.

The national contest celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, plus the 25th anniversary of the national organizer, The Chemical Educational Foundation in Arlington, Va.

The Grundy/LaSalle Challenge site was the pilot group for this contest and saw two national winners over the years.

Students from 11 local schools participated: Coal City Middle School, Mazon-Verona-Kinsman Middle School, Milton Pope School, Minooka Junior High, Saratoga Grade School, Shabbona Middle School, Shepherd Middle School, Oglesby Washington Jr. High, Parkside Junior High, Seneca Grade School and Waltham Elementary.

The intent of the challenge is to involve members of the chemical industry in outreach initiatives that encourage educators and students to learn more about chemistry.

Executed in question and answer style format, students are quizzed in the competition with questions like, “Which of the following is a colloid: dry ice, sugar, vinegar, mayonnaise or red wine?” If they answer mayonnaise, they are correct.

The students began by studying online guides and then took a qualifying test at school. The top three are declared, and the top two go on to compete at the regional level.

The school runner-ups and any open registration students will vie for five spots at that competition along with the 11 school winners. Both counties compete Feb. 24 in Seneca.

Each school winner will be awarded their school level prize at this competition, which was a laptop for the winner and a $50 gift card for the runner-up of each school.

At the regional competition, the winner of each county team will win $100 and the runner-up of each county team will win $50. Trophies, medallions and a bag of token gifts from the sponsors also will be awarded.

From the regional contest, the three top students of each county team will advance to the state competition.

The alternate from each county also will advance, but will need to compete in a play-in round to win one of the four open spots for the main contest.

There are six other sites in Illinois, so there will be a total of 28 competitors for the state contest, which will be at North Central College in Naperville on April 27.

There, only one student will win first place for Illinois and will advance to the national level of this contest to be held June 23 in Philadelphia.

Grundy County winners:

Coal City Middle School

• Clayton Lindemulder – eighth grade

• Chris Fischer – eighth grade

• Caitlyn Painter – eighth grade

Middle School

• Tommy Cahill – sixth grade

• Emma Franks – eighth grade

• Dylan Bryant – eighth grade

Minooka Jr. High School

• Matt Schofield – eighth grade

• Carson Goffinet – eighth grade

• Roisin Connellan – eighth grade

Shabbona Middle School

• Dawson Moore – eighth grade

• Peter Smyk – eighth grade

• Michael Metesh – eighth grade

• Saratoga Middle School

• Joey Lyle – eighth grade

• Kailey Pierce – eighth grade

• Logan Mueller – eighth grade

Open Registration Contestant – 56 students competed in an open registration contest. Esther Mathew, seventh-grader from Dunlap Middle School in Dunlap, took third and was attached to the closest challenge site – Grundy County. She is a repeating contestant for this area who had played for LaSalle County last year.

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