St. John Valley

Fort Kent seniors take top spots in Aroostook Brain Bee

FORT KENT, Maine — Two Fort Kent Community High School seniors took the top spots in the Aroostook County 2018 Brain Bee held at the University of Maine at Presque Isle on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Jonathan Blanchette finished first and Jacob Daigle second out of a field of 50 competitors in the event, which tests high-school students on their knowledge of neuroscience topics, according to Jamie Pelletier, coordinator of the gifted and talented program at.Maine School Administrative District 27.

Blanchette, the son of Steve and Ruby Blanchette, said he credits his dual enrollment in anatomy and physiology classes taught by Leslie Marquis at the high school, which also count for college credits through the University of Maine at Fort Kent, as helping him to acquire the knowledge necessary to achieve victory in the Brain Bee.  

Blanchette said he was not nervous but felt “rather relaxed” when bee officials asked him such questions as, “What are the cells that create myelin for the peripheral nervous system?” (Schwann cells), and, “What are the functions of cerebrospinal fluid?” (protect the brain from outside forces).

“I was there with a couple of good friends so we were having a good time,” Blanchette said of his Brain Bee experience.

Among those friends was Blanchette’s classmate and bee runner-up Jacob Daigle, whose parents are John and Nola Daigle.

Neither Blanchette nor Daigle will be able to participate in the National Brain Bee Finals at the University of Maryland in Baltimore on March 17, due to prior commitments also related to academic excellence. Both young men already have committed to taking part in the 2018 Maine National Honor Society Annual State Banquet and Convention being held in Brewer and the University of Maine in Orono on March 15 and 16.

Blanchette said that after graduating from Fort Kent Community High School this spring, he plans to pursue a college degree in mechanical engineering and aspires to work in the aerospace industry.

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