Director of Hải Phòng City Department of Education and Training, Lê Quốc Tiến (first, left) congratulates Lý Hải Đăng (second, right) for his Gold Medal at the 52nd IChO. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Self-study, a teacher’s dedicated guidance and his family’s timely encouragement helped Lý Hải Đăng shine at the 52th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO).
Đăng, a 12th grader at the Trần Phú High School for the Gifted Students in Hải Phòng City, won a gold medal at the IChO 2020 by scoring 96.97 out of 100 points – ranking in the top five in the competition.
Đăng and the three members of the Vietnamese chemistry team pocketed four gold medals to help the country finish second in the event.
The first experiments he conducted at home as a fifth-grader were the first steps that brought Đăng to chemistry, according to his mother Nguyễn Thị Thu Hà.
She said that since childhood, her child has been passionate about reading research books in all fields and loved TV shows related to science.
“He spent break times watching science documentary films, reading books, and conducting chemical reaction tests at home," she said.
She recalled that one day when she came home from work, she saw a burnt aluminium pot and was very angry with Đăng. He explained he wanted to conduct a chemistry experiment after reading about it in a book.
“At that time, I told him that several chemical experiments and those in other fields should not be done at home, especially by children.”
Đăng said he had a passion for reading and research via books and TV shows in his secondary school years.
To satisfy this passion, he spent all his savings on buying laboratory equipment and science books.
He decided to register for the class specialising in chemistry at Trần Phú High School for Gifted Students, among the top schools in Hải Phòng.
Đăng gets part of his curiosity from his mother, a high school language teacher in the city. His father Lý Sỹ Mạnh, a sailor for Việt Nam Shipping Company, was surprised by his son's results, saying they surpassed his family's expectations.
In 2017, Đăng was the highest scoring student in the entrance exam for the class specialising in chemistry of Trần Phú school.
Nguyễn Thị Thanh Thúy, Đăng's homeroom teacher at Trần Phú school, said she was not surprised that he won a gold medal because he is a talented and motivated student.
Thúy said as soon as he was in 10th grade, Đăng had superior knowledge of chemistry compared to his classmates. When he was in 11th grade, he took a number of chemistry-related examinations for 12th-grade students.
He won the gold medal in two contests for the high school talented students in the northern region (2017-18, 2018-19), and second prize of the National Chemistry Competition in 2017-18 and 2018-19.
However, his mother confided that before the International Chemistry Olympiad 2020, Đăng did not want to take the exam for one reason: he wanted to spend all his time preparing for the entrance exam to Hà Nội Medical University.
“With outstanding study results, Đăng was offered directly into some universities, but he only dreams of Hà Nội Medical University,” his mother said.
Both homeroom teacher Nguyễn Thị Thanh Thúy and the principal Đoàn Thái Sơn of Trần Phú school encouraged him to participate in the Olympia contest. He confidently returned to the process of focusing on revision for the exam.
Besides coaching from teachers on the team, Đăng found tests of previous years and practised at home. “When I have a difficult lesson, I find and research the methods of homework on the internet by myself.”
“Math, physics and chemistry all require logical thinking, but chemistry is more demanding and needs experiments,” he said. “I want to learn to be a doctor because it is a job to save people.”
Teachers and students of Trần Phú school welcomed home Đăng and congratulated him for his impressive achievement. The school has had pupils win gold medals at the event for three consecutive years.
The 52nd IChO 2020 was held in Istanbul, Turkey in late July. All candidates took the remote access exam due to COVID-19. — VNS