Hartlepool student wins gold in national chemistry competition

GOLDEN GIRL: Crystal with James Donkin, head of chemistry at Hartlepool Sixth Form College
GOLDEN GIRL: Crystal with James Donkin, head of chemistry at Hartlepool Sixth Form College

A HARTLEPOOL student has struck gold after showing she has the winning formula.

Hartlepool Sixth Form College student Boyao Zhang, who is known to her friends as Crystal, won a gold award in the recent National Chemistry Olympiad Challenge.

The Olympiad is open to all post-16 students across the UK, and starts with round one – a challenging written test of chemical knowledge.

Gold, silver and bronze certificates were awarded to the 5,682 students who entered the competition this year.

Gold certificates were awarded to 7.4 per cent of candidates, putting Crystal into the top 420 chemistry students in the country.

Staff at the town’s Blakelock Road college say the questions posed during the challenge really test a student’s knowledge of the subject.

The event also gives them the opportunity to show their enthusiasm for chemistry and raises awareness of what the subject is all about at a much higher level.

Crystal is going on to study Biomedical Science at Imperial University.

James Donkin, head of chemistry at the college, said “Crystal is an exceptional student.

“From day one of studying chemistry, she has demonstrated a true thirst for knowledge for the subject.

“Rather than settle for the explanations used at A-level, she has taken it upon herself to research topics and concepts to a much higher level.

“She can always be relied upon to ask challenging questions in lessons, and has certainly kept me on my toes in class.

“As soon as the dates for the Olympiad were announced I knew that Crystal would want to take part as it gave her the opportunity to truly test her knowledge.

“The questions on the paper were very difficult.

“But it came as no surprise when she told me she had enjoyed it – she will be a true asset to her chosen university,” he added.