Donaldsonville’s Cayette wins first at chemist challenge

STAFF REPORT @dvillechief
Kristopher Cayette, second from left on front row, stands with other youth winners at the Dow Westside You Be the Chemist Challenge® on Wednesday, February 11.

More than 200 parents, teachers, students and community members assembled at the Math, Science & Arts Academy West in Plaquemine for the second annual Dow Westside You Be the Chemist Challenge® on Wednesday, February 11. And in that number was Donaldsonville native Kristopher Cayette.

Thirty-three sixth through eighth grade students from the area competed against one another through numerous rounds of multiple-choice questions that tested their knowledge of chemistry concepts, important discoveries, and chemical safety awareness.

Sponsored locally and nationally by Dow, the Challenge is an academic competition created by the Chemical Education Foundation (CEF).  The Challenge aims to engage middle school students in chemistry through a dynamic event that partners members of the chemical industry with schools and organizations in the communities in which they operate.

“At Dow we are committed to supporting the next generation of scientists, engineers, chemists and innovators for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields,” said Abby Cook, Public Affairs Manager, Dow Louisiana Operations.  “We are proud to collaborate with organizations like the Chemical Education Foundation to do the important work of changing lives through quality education.”

After six rounds of competition at the Dow Westside Challenge, the Champion, First Runner-Up, Second Runner-Up and Third Runner-up from both West Baton Rouge and Iberville Parishes were decided.  Alex Gautreaux, student in Cynthia West’s class at Devall Middle, took first place for the second consecutive year.  Erin Stephens of Janell Albarez’s class at Brusly Middle achieved First Runner-Up. Hanna Prather, also a student of Cynthia West’s class at Devall Middle, placed Second Runner-Up and Naturi Scott of Delky Arbuckle’s class achieved Third Runner-Up for West Baton Rouge Parish.

Kristopher Cayette, a student in Tanya Taylor’s class at MSA West achieved Champion for Iberville Parish.  Lucas Sanchez, a student from Tyne Courville’s class at MSA West took First Runner-Up.  Second Runner-Up was achieved by Emily Deslatte of Pam Mechana’s class at St. John and Alixes Bouvay of Dorothy Trusclair’s class at Plaquemine High received Third Runner-Up.

Champion, First Runner-Up, and Second Runner-Up recipients from both Iberville and West Baton Rouge Parishes will advance to the You Be the Chemist State Challenge which will be held at Louisiana State University on April 25.  The winner of the state competition will move on to compete in the National Challenge held Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in June. There, they will compete with state winners from across the country.

Participating schools in the local Dow Westside Challenge included: Devall Middle, Port Allen Middle, Holy Family, Brusly Middle, MSA West, MSA East, St. John School, Plaquemine High, and White Castle High.