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MS student captures DuPont Challenge science essay award


Greenhills eighth grader Zayd Mian flies in to Orlando for DuPont Challenge Weekend April 30, 2015.

Lots of eighth graders go to Disney World. Not many do so because they’ve won a prize in the DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition.

Greenhills student Zayd Mian is one such eighth grader, having captured a third-place award in the junior category of the competition for his essay “Hydrogen Cars and Artificial Leaves: Our Clean Energy Future.” His entry was one of nearly 9,000 submitted by students all over the United States and Canada.

Judges based their decisions on “impressive science research, solid writing skills, and creative solutions” addressing a pressing global challenge.

Zayd, known at Greenhills for his active role as a member of the tennis, track, forensics, robotics, and math teams, said he especially enjoyed one of the highlights of the complimentary Florida trip: a behind-the-scenes tour of the launch facilities at Cape Canaveral.

Greenhills science teacher Brandon Groff, Zayd’s faculty sponsor, agreed.

“It was pretty amazing, the places they took us,” Groff said. “Not many people get that kind of access.”

The DuPont Challenge and the space program maintain a close relationship, in part because the challenge was created 29 years ago as a tribute following the explosion of space shuttle Challenger. One of the seven astronauts who perished aboard Challenger was Christa McAuliffe, who was to have been the first teacher in space.

Zayd’s DuPont Challenge essay hasn’t been his only foray into environmental topics. Recently, as part of the sustainability action project required of all Greenhills eighth graders, Zayd published his own website  to bring sustainability ideas to the wider world. He also is planning to visit a local school to make some of the same points.

The DuPont Challenge offers a total of more than $100,000 in prizes and awards to winners in all categories. The first place winner in each category received a $5,000 savings bond, the second place winner a $3,000 bond, and the third place winner a $1,000 bond. The schools of the top three winners in both divisions earned reference materials from Britannica Digital Learning, as well, and all six top essayists, accompanied by a parent and their sponsors, earned the free trip to Florida.

Saturday, April 24
Open to anyone ages 16 and up. Limited quantities available.
Greenhills is closed for mid-winter break and will return on Tuesday, Feb. 22.