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A team of the School’s chemists took part in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Top of the Bench competition at the beginning of the Spring Term, in the fourth regional heat at City of London Freemen’s School.
Ben Somner-Bogard (Upper Fifth, Surrey), Alexander Taylor (Lower Fifth, North), Martha Witt (Fourth Form, Gloucester) and Jake Cripps (Fourth Form, West) competed on behalf of St John’s, against nine other teams from around the south east of the country. With a high score of 116 points to beat from RGS Guildford in heat two, the pressure was felt from the outset.
The competition came in two parts. First, each representative tackled a practical exercise and then answered related questions. While Ben got to grips with burettes and performed a series of titration reactions, Alex found that two hands were barely enough to perform rates of reactions experiments. At the same time, Martha and Jake undertook a series of displacement reactions. In the second part of the competition, which took place after tea, the four pupils sat multiple-choice papers and then waited eagerly for the results.
St John’s finished an honourable fourth in the heat with 99 points, not far behind the winning score of 106 from Trinity School in Croydon.
Teacher of Chemistry at St John’s, Dr Tom Leonard, noted how all the pupils’ involved enjoyed participating. He commented: ‘Particular praise goes to Alex Taylor for his excellent 18/20 in the multiple choice. The Chemistry Department is looking forward to bringing another group to compete next year.’
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