Lake Central takes on WUCT


Mr. Kendal Smith, Science, and a group of AP Chemistry students pose for a photo outside the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. The group spent April 7 touring the city and spent April 8 competing in WUCT. Photo by: Mr. Sean Begley

Katelyn Pass, Author

On April 7 and 8 a handful of Lake Central’s AP Chemistry students traveled to St. Louis, Mo. to compete in the Washington University Chemistry Tournament. The tournament required students to think logically, work in teams and manage their time.

“I’m going to assume [my favorite part was] the competition part. I liked the challenging questions. You don’t really get questions that hard in normal chemistry [or] anywhere else,” Joseph Jakubowicz (11) said.  

Students were challenged with difficult questions that they weren’t used to seeing in the classroom. They were not expecting to do well because of the difficulty of the tests and questions.

“I would say [the competition] was pretty good. It didn’t matter [if] we did poorly because we knew that we were not going to place,” Zack Seliger (11) said.

Although the competition was very challenging for the students, it was still beneficial. It provided them with the chance to think and work logically and strategically similar to those in STEM fields.

“The type of thinking that’s required for the test and the teamwork I think is what [is] really helpful for STEM,” Mathew Matakovic (11) said.

Not only did the competition teach students more about chemistry and how it’s applied in real life, but it also allowed for them to bond with fellow classmates.

“[I would recommend for others to go because] you will get to know your classmates better and it teaches you a little bit more about chemistry and how it’s applied in real life rather than just the classroom,” Samuel Vandenburgh (11) said.

The students put in a great amount of effort and work into the competition, but they did not place top five in any event. Even though they did not place, most of them were still pleased with their performance in the competition.

“I’m not disappointed in us at all. Mr. [Kendal] Smith [Science] made it clear that he cared more about the experience we earned from going rather than a medal. Mr. [Sean] Begley [Head Principal] was also super supportive and neither had unrealistic expectations of us. I know we tried our best and still had fun while doing it. In a way I’m happy they didn’t expect us to win since it allowed us to relax and really just enjoy the atmosphere instead of worrying about placing,” Abigail Voss (11) said.

Some of the students still performed well considering they felt as if they did much worse than the other competitors.

“It was gratifying to learn that we did well on the subject test. Since they only placed to fifth at the competition, we didn’t know how we did until Mr. Smith told us. Until then I thought it was reasonable to assume that we did much worse considering there weren’t any placings at all,” Alan Wright (11) said.

Even though the competition was very challenging, the trip was still an enjoyable and educational experience for the students.

“The trip overall was truly amazing. Mr. Smith did not make us feel like we had a lot of pressure on our hands. He just wanted to make sure we were having fun while still having an educational experience. It was just a really great time,” Ishika Prakash (11) said. 

Story by: Katelyn Pass (11) and Kylie Thomsen (11)