Success at Olympiad
Tough conditions for biology students in Vietnam contest
Pirongia’s Nikita Lyons is over the moon after being awarded a Silver Medal at the 27th International Biology Olympiad in Hanoi, Vietnam.
She qualified for her second International Biology Olympiad earlier this year after attending one of three national training camps where students sat a three-hour practical exam and a three-hour theory exam that covered all the material in the IBO syllabus.
The assessments and personal attributes were taken into consideration when selecting the team.
One of Nikita’s goals was to better her bronze medal performance in Denmark last year.
The 17-year-old Waikato Diocesan School student achieved her goal— bettering her world ranking from 89th to 43rd from the 250 students from 69 countries that participate.
Her proud parents, Faith and Guy, say it is awell-deserved outcome.
“Nikita has worked really hard for the last two years, giving up any spare time she had to study for this competition.”
She has also not shirked her fundraising commitments, working hard to contribute towards the cost of attending the international events.
All four members of the New Zealand team were awarded medals. Also earning silver were Nico van Wijk (Pinehurst School, Auckland) and Connor Leadley (Christ’s College, Christchurch) and Max Langenkamp of Auckland Grammar won a bronze medal.
The team returns to New Zealand tomorrow after spending two weeks in Vietnam.
The students competed in a tough competition in difficult conditions.
Students travelled from the New Zealand winter to temperatures that, at times, reached above 40C.
Travelling teachers Shawn Cooper of Avondale College and Pru Casey from Otago Boys’ High School say the Vietnamese hospitality and care of the visiting students was second to none.
“The students had a dedicated volunteer guide who worked with them throughout the week, available to translate, advise and help navigate the myriad of small day-to-day challenges for New Zealand teenagers visiting Vietnam.
“The Hanoi State University in the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, was well appointed with exceptionally well-run practical tasks designed to challenge and test student capability.”
With four practical exams and two three-hour theory exams held over two days, this competition is only for dedicated students.
Nikita and her family say a huge thanks to the many people who helped her get to the competition by donatingmoney or buying raffle tickets, garlic or pony poo, and for all the words of support and encouragement.
“Without the support of our awesome community she wouldn’t have made it to Vietnam.”
The family can’t wait for Nikita to be back safe on New Zealand soil and give her huge hug.
They have been without much communication during the two weeks as all the competitors had to hand in their phones and tablets for the week of the competition.
Hermumsays it has been tough on them as well.
“It was worrisome when we learned through social media that students were falling ill due to the extreme temperatures.
“Being unable to pick up the phone and check how things are going is really draining.”
KIWI International Biology Olympiad medal winners (from left) Connor Leadley (Christ’s College, Christchurch — silver), Max Langenkamp (Auckland Grammar— bronze), Nikita Lyons (Waikato Diocesan School— silver) and Nico van Wijk (Pinehurst School, Auckland— silver) with travelling teachers Shawn Cooper (Avondale College— left) and Pru Casey (Otago Boys’ High School— right).