Record medal haul at chemistry challenge

Principal Dr Jackie Johnston (centre) with Collyer's Cambridge Challenge medalists SUS-140728-095927001
Principal Dr Jackie Johnston (centre) with Collyer's Cambridge Challenge medalists SUS-140728-095927001

With enthusiasm apparently unwavering, despite having just completed their AS exams, Collyer’s Chemistry students certainly reacted positively, achieving a record medal haul of 15 Copper, 8 Silver and 1 Gold at the gruelling Cambridge Chemistry Challenge 2014.

The competition invites AS-level students to tackle a 90 minute written exam, set by the nations’ leading academics, that stretches participants significantly beyond the AS-level and A-level chemistry syllabus.

The challenge very much tests whether students can stick with a question, despite dealing with unfamiliar material whilst feeling considerably out of their depth.

Dr Peter Wothers of St Catherine’s College, Cambridge and part of the team that runs the challenge, said: “It is designed to show that chemistry is interesting, challenging and relevant – and an alternative to the formative assessments students typically experienced during their A-levels”.

Despite the very stiff challenge, Collyer’s students excelled. Robbie Butler, Kai Cheng, Yee Chung, Harry Davies, Harry Dorling, Charlie Ewins, Alana Gardener, Mark Hewitt, Natassia King, Melvin Mathew Jose, Steffan Price, James Sullivan, Matt Van Yperen, Emma Wallington-Lee and Lydia Wilson all achieved Copper medals, awarded to the top 36% of entrants nationally.

Lok Chan, Xiaoliang Lu, Kieran Marsh, Alex Paterson, Adam Tod, Helen Tyrrell, Hoi-Ming Yau and Wing Yu achieved Silver medals, awarded to the top 14% of entrants nationally. To round-off an exceptional year, Aidan Marks achieved a highly impressive Gold medal, placing him in the top 8% nationally.

Dr Rob Hussey, Subject Leader for Chemistry said: “Year on year our Chemistry students prove that they are extremely hard working and able.

“To rise to the challenge of this very tough paper after having completed their AS exams is one thing; to have performed so well is another. Our high achieving cohort has won a record number of medals. Congratulations to all 37 students who took part, not just the medal winners”.

Collyer’s Principal, Dr Jackie Johnston said: “This really is fantastic news! The Collyer’s community are extremely proud of these talented students’ achievements and the continued outstanding work of our renowned faculty for Mathematics and Science.

“The paper was extremely demanding and these chemistry students have without question demonstrated that they are among the country’s elite. Well done everyone!”

Collyer’s Vice Principal, Steve Nicholls added: “We also owe huge thanks to Dr Rob Hussey and his team of brilliant chemistry teachers. They really are outstanding practitioners and we are incredibly lucky to have them at Collyer’s!”

Report and picture contributed by Collyer’s.