February 1, 2024

Local Students Compete in Chemistry Challenge

In a showcase of scientific prowess, middle school students from Lenawee County gathered at Adrian High School’s Performing Arts Center on January 30th for the regional You Be the Chemist Challenge®. More than 40 young minds put their chemistry knowledge to the test at the competition coordinated by the Lenawee Intermediate School District (LISD), Lenawee Now, and local chemical companies.

The You Be the Chemist Challenge® is a free competition for students in grades 5-8 developed by the Chemical Education Foundation, a national organization devoted to the education of chemistry. This event, the culmination of hard work and study for students across Lenawee County, saw small teams answer timed multiple-choice and short-answer questions related to chemistry concepts. In addition, participating teams will now display their creativity by crafting a video response to this year’s national theme, proposing innovative solutions to real-world problems.

“We are thrilled to see the enthusiasm and dedication displayed by the participating students,” said Jackie Murray, LISD Science Curriculum Consultant. “This event not only highlights academic excellence but also reinforces the importance of STEM education in preparing Lenawee students for future careers.”

Adrian Public Schools, Tecumseh Public Schools, and Onsted Community Schools participated this year, with teams from Adrian’s Springbrook Middle School taking the top three places at the regional competition. All local teams will have their regional results combined with their video scores to determine state winners. The top five teams amongst state winners will advance to the National Challenge in Texas this summer and compete for scholarships.

“We want to thank our local chemical companies for their support of this exciting event,” said Jack Townsley, Lenawee Now Industry Sector Coordinator. “It was impressive to see middle school students successfully answering questions that stumped most of the adults in the room.”

Since the fall of 2019, Lenawee County chemical companies have been working together as a collaborative to create a consistent and sustainable talent pipeline for their industry through numerous strategies. Establishing and supporting You Be The Chemist® for Lenawee County schools is a prime example of these efforts.

“Our goal with this event is to increase awareness and excitement for the local career opportunities in the chemistry field,” said Mark Kramer, President and CEO of Anderson Development Company. “Data shows that 96% of manufactured goods require some form of chemistry, and these students will play a key role in creating better products and a more sustainable future. We are grateful for the collaboration between local schools and companies to better emphasize the importance of science in education.”

The chemical companies sponsoring the regional event included Anderson Development Company, Evonik, Wacker, and W2 Fuel, providing planning, support, and volunteers for the event.