Schaumburg fifth grader excels at National Science Bee in Orlando

An especially bright fifth grader at Link Elementary School in Elk Grove Village tested his limits, and that of the competition, when he finished as a semifinalist in the IAC National Science Bee in Orlando last month.

Devansh Agrawal, 11, of Schaumburg demonstrated exceptional knowledge and attained a rare level of achievement in the International Academic Competitions event, according to Link Principal Quinn Wulbecker.

“How exciting! In my 12 years as a principal, we have not had a student reach this level of success in the National Science Bee,” he said. “It is incredibly rare for a student to accomplish what Devansh recently completed.

“It shows he is deeply committed to learning and handles the pressures of competition very well,” Wulbecker added. “To know lots of information about a subject area is one thing, but to be able to showcase that knowledge in a competitive environment is even more impressive.”

The National Science Bee was established by “Jeopardy!” champion David Madden in 2010. To qualify for nationals, participants must first secure a top-three position at the regional level.

“Devansh's journey to the semifinals was marked by outstanding performance,” said his father, Ashish Agrawal. “Despite being eliminated in the semifinals by a narrow margin, Devansh's effort and perseverance were truly commendable.”

Devansh described the nature of the competition, how he prepared, and the support he received on his quest from the adults in his life.

“The National Science Bee is a buzzer-based competition with toss-up style questions,” he said. “I would lose points for wrong answers but get bonus points for answering faster, so it was important to not only know the answer but also be quick to buzz when I was sure.

“My teachers played a big role in helping me get ready,” he added. “They were always there to answer my questions and encourage me. My parents and teachers used to discuss more about the topics I was reading, giving me lots of extra facts and ideas.”

This help was essential, as the questions in the competition presume a level of scientific curiosity that exceeds a normal school curriculum for the age level of the contestants.

“The knowledge needed for this competition was more than what we usually learn in fifth grade,” Devansh said. “It covered many different topics and needed a deeper understanding and quick recall of facts. This made preparing both challenging and fun for me.”

The final lessons of the competition were sportsmanship and resilience.

“Being in this competition showed me how important it is to work hard and not give up,” he said. “I also learned how to stay calm under pressure. I remember I felt sad when I got eliminated in the semifinals by a small margin, but I didn’t cry. With a smile, I shook hands and congratulated the winners. I decided to try again next year and give my best. I am feeling very confident about doing even better with this year’s experience.”

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