ORT Argentina students have been clocking up medals almost as quickly as air miles as they have travelled the world to compete in a series of academic contests. The successes chalked up by these star students over the northern summer would be the envy of any school and reflect the thirst for knowledge and achievement with which ORT Argentina students are raised. Scientific Olympians: (left to right) Yair Litman, Gaston Salgado, Nicolas Ponieman, Ariel Zylber and Sebastian Vishnopolska. Students like Year 2s Gaston Salgado, who won a silver medal at the Latin America-wide May Olympiad in mathematics, and Ariel Zylber, a Year 4 electronics major, who won a gold in the same competition before going on to achieve an Honourable Mention at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), which had attracted contestants from 104 countries to the finals in Bremen, Germany. The IMO is an annual top level competition in which participants try to find the correct and most elegant solutions to six mathematical problems presented to them in two four-and-a-half-hour exams. ICT major Nicolas Ponieman, who trained Gaston Delgado for his silver medal-winning performance after graduating from ORT Argentinas Belgrano campus, went on to win a bronze medal at the Asia Pacific Mathematics Olympiad. And another recent graduate, Chemistry major Yair Litman, won a silver medal at the International Chemistry Olympiad in Cambridge, England. But perhaps the most remarkable performance was that turned in by Sebastian Vishnopolska, a student in his last year of the Chemistry track at the Almagro campus. He qualified to join the team representing Argentina at the 20th International Biology Olympiad in Tsukuba, Japan no mean feat in itself. However, despite stiff competition posed by 221 contestants from 56 countries, he went on to win a bronze medal the only member of the Argentine delegation to make the podium. His teacher, Nancy Rivas, said she was very proud of his performance. It was a very difficult competition, not least because of the cultural and educational differences between participants from such a wide array of countries, Ms Rivas said. I am delighted that Sebastian did so well. He is an excellent person, not only a good student. He loves to share knowledge with other students; he is generous and committed. Indeed, Sebastian joined Ms Rivass team to train ORT Argentinas contestants in the interschool stage of the 18th Argentine Biology Olympiad. The competing students Florencia Herbstein, Nataly Krasmik, Carolina Muller, Melanie Romano, Ariel Abramovici, Martin Gueller, Alejandro Nesis and Franco Bongiovanni won first place for the Belgrano and Almagro campuses in both levels of the contest. Luis Perez, Director of Studies at Almagro, said ORT Argentinas good showing at competition level was a result of the cooperative spirit and goal-driven ethos at the organisations campuses. Students work with their tutors out of school hours and are helped by alumni who have competed in previous years, Mr Perez said. They have to pass tests in order to compete that show not only their theoretical knowledge but also their ability to do things in the laboratory. If they prove themselves to be good enough at a national level then they win the right to participate at an international level. Its a major process. But it is a process from which the whole school derives benefit, not just the individuals involved. We are fortunate to have a good foundation of motivated students and skilled teachers that we can build on, Mr Perez said. But this is not just about students winning prizes. These competitions are a way for us to involve more and more students in scientific studies. Each prize that is won raises interest in the subject and attracts more people to study it. It is part of our aim to ensure that students appreciate that knowledge has value.