Emmanuel College Year 12 student Jacob Gome had to overcome numerous obstacles on his way to a top academic honour.
The 17-year-old came fifth in Australia in the 2020 Australian Science Olympiad for chemistry.
He also picked up a silver medal and narrowly missed out on making the Australian team of four to compete at the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO).
The high-flying student's journey to the prize was perhaps most impressive.
It was interrupted by bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jacob placed in the top 24 students in the Olympiad for Chemistry test in 2019.
He was invited to take part in the two-week Australian Science Olympiad Summer School for Chemistry.
The camp presented students with the opportunity to learn first-year university chemistry as well as the chance to earn a spot on Australia's IChO team.
He flew to Canberra on January 4 where it was a sizzling 44 degrees at the airport; the highest temperature on record for the ACT according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Bushfires caused smoke pollution.
"One day it was quite orange outside," Jacob said.
He took part in some lectures before the Australian National University-based camp was postponed until Easter.
In the meantime, students learnt chemistry theory via video in preparation for the laboratory sessions.
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March meant Jacob's Easter plans was thrown into disarray.
But he still sat the Final Selection Exams (FSEs) with the hope of making the IChO team.
"In early March, I sat both of the three-hour FSEs which were the toughest tests I've ever taken," he said.
Jacob, who completed his year 12 studies in chemistry in 2019, said he came away with a greater appreciation for the subject.
The committed student has submitted an application for an early offer at ANU for a double degree.
The all-rounder said he may end up studying either science, maths or politics, philosophy and economics (PPE).
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