2011-2021 High School Chemistry Olympiad


The 2021 High School Olympiad

Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, ACS hosted the 2021 local section High School Olympiad on-line. This year, we had 332 students representing 29 high schools take the local Olympiad exam online through the National ACS Learning Center on Saturday, March 27, 2021. Arcadia and South Pasadena High Schools tied for first place overall while North Hollywood High School finished first for first year students. Sixteen students representing ten schools were invited to participate in Part I of the National Exam on April 17th online. The top 200 students nationally took Part II of the National Exam on April 24th. These students, as well as the top performers and teachers from each school with 10 or more participants, were honored at our virtual Educational Awards Presentation.

Congratulations to the students listed below who qualified for Part I. The students who qualified for Part II are annotated with an asterisk. We had 9 students qualify for Part II out of 200 students nationally. The top scorers from the National Exam will go to a virtual study camp to be held online in June.

*Alex Dang Arcadia High School
*Gordon He Guo Arcadia High School
*Phillip Jeong Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES)
*Konnie Duan Harvard-Westlake High School
*Xiyu Wang South Pasadena High School
Sarah Cao Palos Verdes Peninsula High School
Sunjae Kim West Torrance High School
Akash Anand Palos Verdes Peninsula High School
*Theodore Dupont North Hollywood High School
*Randall Scharpf West Torrance High School
*Lydia Qin North Hollywood High School
Ethan Poladian Redondo Union High School
Srinivasan Arumugham San Marino High School
*Jacqueline Mancera South Pasadena High School
Andrew Choe Harvard-Westlake High School
William Wang Polytechnic School


The 2020 High School Olympiad

The Great Isolation of the COVID-19 Pandemic almost caused the local section qualifying exam to be canceled, until a volunteer figured out how to hold the exam online in a secure environment. Nearly 780 high school students took this exam, and 15 of those top performers took the National ACS semi-finals exam, also in a virtual environment. Those students are:

*Gordon He Guo Arcadia High School
**Alex Dang Arcadia High School
Tyler Weigand Harvard-Westlake
Aaron Zhao Harvard-Westlake
*Phillip Jeong Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies
Sameer Nayyar Loyola High School
Matthew Kim Loyola High School
Theodore Dupont North Hollywood High School
*Albert Zhang North Hollywood High School
*Akash Anand Palos Verdes Peninsula High School
Jia Hu San Marino High School
*Sunjae Kim West Torrance High School
*Randall Scharpf West Torrance High School
Kenneth Nguyen Whitney High School
Harry Yaun Whitney High School
  • denotes students who qualified for Part II of the National Exam on May 3rd. All 15 students took Part I on April 26th.

Alex Dang, from Arcadia High School qualified to attend the virtual Study Camp. Four students from around the country were selected from there to go on to the virtual International competition at which the US Team won four gold medals.

On May 27, 2020, we were delighted to present our first virtual local section High School Chemistry Olympiad Awards Ceremony, in which we honored the top performers for the local qualifying exam, as well as those who went on to the semi-finals, finals, and the National Study Camp. Frances Arnold, Nobel Laureate, was kind enough to give the students a pre-recorded greeting, and Luis Echegoyan, 2020 ACS President, gave closing remarks. Those videos are shown below.

Greetings from Frances Arnold:

Congratulations from Luis Echegoyan:


The 2019 High School Olympiad

The Southern California is pleased to announce that Albert Liu of North Hollywood High School has won a silver medal at the 2019 International Chemistry Olympiad in Paris in July.

Left to right: Edward Jin, Anton Ni, Yajvan Ravan and Albert Liu. Credit: Melissa Barranger-Mathys

Here is the announcement from ACS:

U.S. team brings home gold and silver from the 51st International Chemistry Olympiad

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2019 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) is proud to announce that the four high school chemistry whiz kids representing the U.S. at the annual International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) earned three gold medals and one silver.

The members of the team are:

Yajvan Ravan, Churchill High School, Westland, Michigan, gold medal, placed 19th

Anton Ni, University High School, Irvine, California, gold medal, placed 28th

Edward Jin, Arnold O. Beckman High School, Irvine, California, gold medal, placed 30th

Albert Liu, North Hollywood High School, Porter Ranch, California, silver medal, placed 59th

More than 300 students from 80 countries competed this year.

Speaking with ACS’ newsmagazine Chemical & Engineering News, Ni says, “I think my favorite part about the competition is staying up at night just chatting with people. You learn a lot about people from other countries, and you discover that they’re also really passionate about chemistry — and you learn so much about them as people and as chemists.”

“Even though we all have different languages, different cultures, we can still all bond over chemistry,” Jin says.

Regarding the 100-degree temperatures in Paris recently, Liu says, “It’s been quite difficult handling the heat.”

Ravan enjoyed the opportunity to visit the Palace of Versailles. “I was impressed by how big and luxurious [Versailles] was,” he says. “I was totally blown away by it.”

ACS has sponsored the American team annually since the U.S. joined the Olympiad in 1984. Principal funding is through the ACS Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Olympiad Endowment, with additional support from The Chemours Company; the University of Maryland at College Park, department of chemistry and biochemistry; Carolina Biological Supply Company; Macmillan Learning; Texas Instruments; Pearson; and Fisher Science Education.

The International Chemistry Olympiad originated with Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary in 1968. Soon, other Eastern European countries joined the event; Western Europe began participating in 1974. The first U.S. team competed in 1984, winning one silver and two bronze medals.

2019 Educational Awards Banquet at Mount Saint Mary’s University
May 17, 2019

Justin Dong, 1st Place Student and Michael Morgan, Education Chair

The 2019 Southern California Section National Team

Cherryl Mynster of Arcadia High School and Michael Morgan. Arcadia High School won the award for 1st Place Overall School.


The 2018 High School Olympiad
2018 Educational Awards Banquet at Mount Saint Mary’s University
May 18, 2018

Education Chair Michael Morgan and MC Alexander Alschuler

Albert Liu, First Place (tie) Highest Scoring Student with Dr. Gerald Delker, Olympiad Chair (left) and Michael Morgan (right)

Michael Xiong, First Place (tie) Highest Scoring Student

Award plaques for Arcadia High School and North Hollywood High School

Dr. Gerald Delker (Olympiad Chair), Cherryl Mynster (Arcadia High School), and Michael Morgan (Education Chair)

Gerald Delker, Michael Morgan and Altair Maine (North Hollywood High School)

Nancy Paradiso, Altair Maine and Michael Morgan


The 2017 High School Olympiad
2017 Educational Awards Banquet at Mount Saint Mary’s University
May 19, 2017

The 2017 Southern California Section National Team

Michael Morgan, Education Chair; Caroline Morgan, the 2017 Paul Shin Memorial High School Teacher of the Year; and Peter Shin, Paul’s brother, who presented the award.


The 2014 High School Olympiad
The two finalists for the 2014 U. S. National Chemistry Olympiad Exam are Rueih-Sheng Fu of Arcadia High School and Richard Wang of North Hollywood High School.


The 2012 High School Olympiad

Meet the four high school students who represented the US at the International Chemistry Olympiad, July 21-30, 2012, in this short, engaging video.


The top 20 national winners in the nation were invited to attend an all-expenses paid two-week study camp, May 29th to June 13th, at the U. S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. At this camp, four finalists were selected from the U. S. Team to represent the United States in the 44th International Chemistry Olympiad (ICHO) in Washington, D.C. The Southern California Section is proud to announce that Timothy Man Hay Lee from Arcadia High School attended this camp and was selected as an alternate.

Let’s cheer as loudly for this Olympiad team as we do for those at the “other” Olympics in London!


The 2011 High School Olympiad

Whitney High School Student Wins Gold in 2011
International Chemistry Olympiad

Joe Tung (pictured third from left in photo above) of Whitney High School in Cerritos and three US teammates all came home with medals from the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) in Ankara, Turkey in July, 2011.

A total of 273 students representing national teams from 70 countries gathered for the competition. Testing consisted of one day of laboratory work and a second day of written exams. Once judging was complete, gold medals were awarded to contestants who had the top 33 scores. Placing 24th in the overall ranking, Mr. Tung was also one of three students selected to give welcome addresses at the IChO opening ceremonies.

Joe Tung tied for first place in the 2011 local competition, in which 1346 students representing 32 high schools in Los Angeles County took the local exam.  The National Olympiad Exam was given to the 17 top Los Angeles students in April.   From the approximately 940 students that competed in the National Exam, 20 won places at the US team training camp in Colorado Springs. Four finalists and two alternates were selected from that group.

This was Mr. Tung’s second trip to the international event – in 2010, he was one of two alternates at the IChO competition in Tokyo and 2011 marked his third time attending the US finalists’ training camp in Colorado Springs. Timothy Lee of Arcadia High School was also a US competition finalist and attended the training camp in Colorado in 2011.

There is a $9 per student participation fee to enter the contest or $11 for single students. We offer an “Early Bird Special” of $7 per student for 10 or more students if you register online or return the participation form and fee before February 4, 2019. After March 4th, the fee increases from $9 to $11 (late registration). Download the letter with all the pertinent details as well as the participation form here. 19ContestLtr NOW AVAILABLE: Sign up on-line and pay registration fees with a credit card. Available to school groups, but not individuals. Individual students need to have the participation form signed by their teachers and mail in the payment.