The Journalist

The Student News Site of Glen Ridge High School

The Journalist

The Journalist


What is your favorite Pumpkin Spice item in the fall?

  • Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte (27%, 23 Votes)
  • Pumpkin Spice candles (24%, 20 Votes)
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  • Pumpkin Spice donuts (18%, 15 Votes)
  • Pumpkin Spice gnocchi (6%, 5 Votes)
  • Pumpkin Spice goldfish (5%, 4 Votes)
  • Pumpkin Spice cream cheese (2%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 41

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GRHS Students Attend the NJ Chemistry Olympics


On May 16th, the GRHS Chemistry Club attended the New Jersey Chemistry Olympics (NJCO) at NJIT. Over twenty current chemistry students—from both Honors and AP Chemistry classes—signed up to compete in this day-long event against students from other schools across the state. Orchestrated by the New Jersey Section of the American Chemistry Society in partnership with NJIT, this competition provided a fun way for students to enhance their passion for chemistry and develop their problem-solving and teamwork skills for future academic success. 

School buses arrived at the competition early in the morning to enjoy a breakfast provided by NJIT before starting the competition section of the day. The university designated an entire hall of classrooms to the 16 schools that were competing so that each school had a resting space in between events and a safe place to keep their belongings. From 8:30 to 11:30, teams went to their respective events and were free to explore the campus during spare time before or after.

The competition consisted of eight events ranging from debates to timed labs—all in front of a panel of judges. Before the competition, each school must assign students to specific events and the students must make sure to complete any necessary projects or preparations they will need on the day of the competition. For my category, which was the instrumentation lab, my partner and I had to prepare a lab report and do several trials of our lab after school before even arriving at NJCO. In fact, for several events, students had to submit their written reports and projects a month before the start of NJCO so that the judges could review them.

The judges used predetermined criteria to score every team on their work submitted before the event and their performance during the competition to determine the winners for each category. For an event such as Website Design, teams were scored based on the content of their research, the overall design of the website, and the day-of presentation of their research to the judges. 

After the competition section of the day was over, students had an hour and a half to eat the lunch provided by NJIT, take a stroll around the campus, and meet dozens of students from different schools.

The competition concluded with the most anticipated part of the day—the awards ceremony. Each team was brought into a beautiful auditorium, where the directors of the competition and the head of the NJIT Chemistry department gave students words of encouragement to continue pursuing their interests in the sciences. For each of the eight events, three awards were given out to the first, second, and third-place winners. Despite the hard work and determination put in by the GRHS teams, they only came away from the competition with one win—an astonishing win by Kosta Botev for the last award of the day! Not only did he take home the only award for Glen Ridge, he won first place in his debate competition, where he had to debate the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning for drug discovery. 

None of the trip would have been possible without the tremendous help of Mrs. Kalra, the GRHS Chemistry Club advisor and teacher of the Honors and AP Chemistry classes. For weeks, she spent hours after school helping students with their preparations for NJCO, often staying far beyond the end of period nine into her time to make sure students were confident in their work. Although Glen Ridge may not have come away with big wins across the different events, the NJCO competition was a fantastic opportunity for GRHS students to apply their chemistry knowledge to the real world and challenge themselves to think beyond what they are told in the classroom. 

One student who participated in a laboratory event at the competition, Ahalya Raghavan, said she “signed up on a whim, but the experience turned out to be unforgettable. I was amazed how I was able to use what I had learned this year in chemistry class in the competition while having the opportunity to use the equipment from professional laboratories.”

The experience for all students who attended, whether they won or not, was valuable in providing a hands-on learning experience, improved critical thinking skills, strong resume-building material, and most importantly, a fun and educational outing for hardworking students.  I hope in the future, with continued student participation and enthusiasm, this competition will keep running and Glen Ridge will take home many more victories.

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