Suc­cess at Olympiad

Tough con­di­tions for bi­ol­ogy stu­dents in Viet­nam con­test

Waikato News - - Front Page -

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.”

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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).

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