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Super students hope for national competition

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April 13, 2007

Thomasville --  Some exceptional high school students in Thomas County are recognized for their achievements in Chemistry. Two Thomas County Sophomores are among only one thousand students nationwide selected to take the National Chemistry Olympiad Exam.

When chemistry teacher Laine Reichert heard about the Chemistry Olympiad Exam, she just thought it would be make a good preparation tool.  "I thought that this would be a wonderful opportunity to for our students to get exposure to what a college level chemistry test might be like," Reichert said.

She didn't dream how well two of her sophomore students would do. Of all the students who took the exam, Cody Winkelmann and Jordan Christie scored in the top ten in the region.  "Its really an amazing feat, because since it's such an upper level test these kids had not been exposed to some of the topics."

Christie agrees, it wasn't easy. "When I saw the first question I was like 'whoa!' It looked hard."

Both students say most of the test covered information they hadn't studied yet, and they didn't even know the meaning of some of the words. But they weren't about to let that stop them.

"I looked at the questions and I compared them to each other when they were talking about relatively the same thing, and just worked out what the word meant and how to answer the question."

Because of their high scores, the students were selected to take the national exam in Valdosta at the end of the month. Only 1,000 students nationwide are asked to participate, so they're going to make sure they're ready.

"They give you the exam online and I'm going to look at it and prepare for it," Jordan Christie said.

"My hopes for them is that they'll go in with a clear calm mind knowing that they're very smart, very bright kids and that they stand a good chance of doing very well on this exam," said the teacher.

With two students in the same school making it this far, Winkelmann put his finger on a common thread. "It's because of our teacher."

The top 20 students for the national exam will undergo intensive training at the U. S. Air Force Academy in June. Four of those students will be selected to be the traveling U. S. team and compete in the International Chemistry Olympiad in Moscow in July.

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