Nobel laureates congratulate ORT Brazil chemistry medal winners

ORT Brazil’s reputation for educational excellence has been burnished by the superb performance of two of its students at the country’s national Chemistry Olympiad.

Second year student Raphael Bokehi and top third year student Joao Alderete won the bronze and silver medals respectively in the competition – the impact of their achievement enhanced by their being the first Instituto de Tecnologia ORT students to have taken part in it.

“We have had students compete – and compete well – in physics, maths and informatics olympiads but this is the first time we have had entries in the Chemistry Olympiad,” said ORT Brazil National Director Wilson Cukierman. “It is further evidence that ORT is not merely a ‘technical school’, it is a technology school providing a quality education.”

The distinction is important as ORT Brazil reaches out to convince parents who may not qualify for the school’s scholarships that the money spent on educating their children there is a gilt-edged investment. The school is already ranked among the top 20 of the 3,000 schools in the State of Rio de Janeiro according to results from the national exam which high school students sit to qualify for university.

News of the boys’ achievements was received warmly by Professors Dan Shechtman and Ada Yonath, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2011 and 2009 respectively. Both scientists have visited the Instituto de Tecnologia ORT in recent years.

“Thank you for the good news and for a job well done,” Professor Shechtman, who is Chair of World ORT’s Academic Advisory Council, said. “Preparing the young for the future by education gives us hope for a better world.”

Raphael Bokehi and Joao Rafael Alderete

Professor Yonath added: “Wonderful news! Congratulations!”

Mr Cukierman paid tribute to the initiative and commitment of the boys’ teacher, Elaine da Conceição Petronilho, and to Science and Biotechnology Coordinator Camila Marques da Silva.

Ms da Silva said a lot of hard work had been put into preparing for the specific types of questions posed at the Olympiad.

“The boys loved it and so did we,” she said. “Not only that, the effect of their success extends to the whole school: it makes the students proud to be at ORT and it inspires them to study harder.”

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