A group of students from a small school in Cambridge has just achieved a first for the entire Western Hemisphere.

Thirteen students from École secondaire catholique Père-Réné de Galinée are co-winners of Beamline for Schools – an annual competition organized by the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

The competition, which had never before been one by a team from either North America or South America, sees students submit proposals for experiments that make use of the CERN particle accelerator in Switzerland.

The Père-René team won it with a proposal to search for fractionally charged particles.

As one of two winning teams, the Père-René students will have the chance to go to Geneva, Switzerland this fall to conduct their experiment.

Before that, they’ll be working with experts in Sudbury to develop some of the equipment they will need.