Westdale Middle School Student Wins National Chemistry Challenge
- July 20, 2009
When it comes to national competitions, Daniel Hulgan of Westdale Middle School has just the right chemistry.
In June, the eighth-grader became the national winner of the You Be the Chemist (YBTC) Challenge, where he represented the state of Louisiana. He emerged the winner after seven rounds of competition and received the award, a $5,000 savings bond, a $500 gift certificate to the Discovery Channel Store and a Texas Instruments 84 Silver Plus Edition Graphing Calculator. The son of two chemical engineers, Hulgan also is the grandson of a chemical engineer.
At the event, 15 students from across the country – one per each state entered -- showcased their knowledge of chemistry concepts, important discoveries and safety awareness as they battled to become champion.
Hulgan became the 2009 National YBTC Challenge Champion with the help of his coaches, Westdale Middle School science teacher Dena Nabers and Dr. Paul Russo, a professor of Chemistry at Louisiana State University (LSU). He also had support from the LSU chapter of Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society and ExxonMobil, along with The Gordon A. Cain Center for Scientific, Technological, Engineering and Mathematical Literacy at LSU.
As the regional winner in March, Hulgan progressed to the national competition after first winning the state competition in April. Westdale Middle School also produced the state runner-up, Ikechi Akujobi.
Hulgan and a chaperone received a paid trip to the competition in Philadelphia. While in Philadelphia, all of the National YBTC Challenge participants received exciting prizes, including Thames & Kosmos CHEMC3000 chemistry kits, gift certificates to the Discovery Channel Store and YBTC Challenge T-shirts, bags and other giveaways.
The YBTC Challenge is in its fifth year, but it’s only the second year Louisiana has had competitors at the event. “Considerable effort must be devoted to writing and vetting questions. Thousands and thousands of questions are required,” Russo said. “Winning all the marbles in just two years is quite an achievement. It is a real ‘Daniel-and-Goliath’ story.”
“I am extremely proud of Daniel,” Nabers said. “What an honor for him, his parents, his school and his science teacher.”
The Challenge is organized by the Chemical Education Foundation (CEF), the outreach/public service branch of the National Association of Chemical Distributors. Both are headquartered in Arlington, VA. Earlier in the year, ExxonMobil sponsored the regional and state competitions locally.
Principal Brister in Washington, D.C., to Accept McKinley Middle School’s Second Blue Ribbon Award
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Principal Herman Brister (pictured, left) and the school’s Teacher of the Year, Lynn Williamson (right), were in Washington, D.C., accepting McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School’s National Blue Ribbon Award from U.S. Department of Education’s Director of National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Aba Kumi (center). The event, which recognized some 314 schools from across the United States, was held at the Omni Hotel. Click herefor story.
Subscribe to the EBRPSS eNews to receive our bi-weekly eNewsletter.