Carmel High School Student Wins Gold at International Olympiad
David Liang is a gold medal winner. But the 17-year-old Carmel High School senior didn’t win his medal by diving into a pool. He won it by diving into math problems, wrestling with equations and hurdling over complicated chemistry compounds.
David’s win came recently at the International Chemistry Olympiad held in Moscow, Russia. And, much like the better-known Olympics that features sports, participants practice and work hard for years to make this Olympic team. First there’s a local exam hosted by the American Chemistry Society, then a national exam. From the national exam results, 20 students from around the country are chosen to attend a two-week camp at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. The team to represent the US is then chosen at camp.
David started this run as a high school freshman, made it to camp by his sophomore summer and then this year was chosen for the team. In Moscow, some 300 students from around the world competed, with only the top ten percent winning gold. So, you can rightfully say that David is in the top ten percent of chemistry students in the entire world.
David realized in middle school that he had a love for science. “It probably started with math. That’s usually a good starting point for getting into the sciences. And, from there I took one class in chemistry and it was really interesting – like the way everything made sense, and how it could explain a lot of things that happen in everyday life,” he said. He called his ten-day visit in Moscow a cool experience, and enjoyed meeting the other competitors. He said there’s a lot to learn about other cultures, even through chemistry.
David isn’t just about math and science. He’s a very well-rounded guy. He has played soccer throughout his high school years, performs community service as a Key Club member, belongs to the National Honor Society, and is incoming vice president of his senior class. Ask him what his grade point average is and he’s not sure but admitted that the last time he got a B in a class was in 4th grade. He’s not yet sure exactly the career path that he wants to pursue, but has his sights set on Harvard, MIT, or Stanford for the next step in his educational career – lofty goals indeed.
His father proudly said that they have never had to push David, and laughingly added that he is so self-motivated that they have actually had to hold him back on occasion. David also made a point to mention how appreciative he is of the teachers and mentors at both Carmel High School and his chemistry Olympic team that helped him.
A student such as David should be celebrated. He brings prestige to his school and his community. After all, not every community can boast a gold medal winner. Carmel can.