59th Quinte Regional Science and Technology Fair brings out best in youth science

Submitted photo The 59th Quinte Regional Science and Technology Fair was held Saturday at Loyalist College with five secondary students earnng a trip to the 58th annual Canada Wide Science Fair, May 15-17 at the University of New Bruncwick in Fredricton. From the left are: Trishna Krishantha (Albert College), Lyola Brownlee (St. Joseph Catholic School), William Tomlinson (Susanna Moodie Elementary School), Isabella Watts-Horricks (St. Michael's Catholic School), Miranda çlvarez Rodr'guez (Albert College), and Emilie Leneveu; Back row: Kiwanis Club of Belleville President Ron Hare. jpg, BI

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About 225 Quinte area students demonstrated their scientific prowess by taking home more than $10,000 in awards and gold medals Saturday at the 59th Annual Quinte Regional Science and Technology Fair (QRSTF) held at Loyalist College.

There were more than 170 colourful, well-researched projects on display by students from grades 4 to 12 from all over Hastings and Prince Edward counties. They competed for ribbons, medals, plaques and trophies, monetary awards and scholarships.

Ninety-five judges attentively listened to students describe their work in many different categories. Beyond evaluating the presentations, the judges’ role included encouraging and motivating the participants.

To this end, every student received a written list of suggestions on how they might improve their work and what they might study next.

Along with the judges, there were many people operating behind the scenes, all on a volunteer basis, to help the fair run smoothly. The patron and major sponsors provided funds to help send five qualifiers to the Canada Wide Science Fair (http://cwsf.youthscience.ca), while the remaining sponsors supplied prizes in the form of cash, trophies and special prizes for the unique and valuable community event.

Ten of the great communicators won special prizes in a draw during the awards ceremony.

“A science project is so much more than a display of information – it tells a coherent story based on an accumulation of facts,” said Chris Spencer, chairperson of the QRSTF. “It encourages students to think logically and critically and express themselves fluently. These skills are absolutely necessary to sort the wheat from the chaff in a world filled with fake news. It is heartening to me to see the community at large enthusiastically support this endeavor.”

Spencer, a retired teacher who finished his career at Parkdale Public School, has been involved with the regional science fair for 40 years, starting out as a judge.

“I judged for a number of years, worked on the committee for a number of years, went to Canada-wide and was on the national science fair committee for a number of years and I have been chair of this event for the last three years, since we’ve been incorporated as a charity,” Spencer said.

The support the QRSTF receives from the commuity is “actually very heartwarming. When we ask usually people are more than happy to help us out. Our financial situation is improved every year and our number of committee members keeps growing,” Spencer said.

Most of the funding for the event comes from outside sources. They receive support from Belleville Kiwanis and Loyalist College donates the facilities. After that, school boards provide a healthy stipend, and businesses donate between $500 to $1,000, and a lot of the service clubs other than the Belleville Kiwanis chip in with funds, Spencer said.

The annual budget for the science fair is close to $18,000 and a lot of that money is used to support the Canada-wide winners, the five students and two chaperones they send on to the Canada Wide Science Fair for a week, a value of approximately $2,000 for each of the five participants.

This year’s national competition is set for May 15 to 17 at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

Putting on the science fair is “a major effort. We had people here from 4-9 o’clock (Friday night) just organizing the place and that’s after we had already done all kinds of organizing, printing and arranging before we begun,” said Spencer.

“It’s very, very positive for the kids, we’ve had a lot of enthusiastic children and some great projects. Depending on the level, most students spend between one and two months completing their projects. Some of the senior projects the students worked for much longer than that. It’s not uncommon for a kid to spend three or four months on some of the really good senior projects,” Spencer said.

“If the kids can present well here they have the ability to present in any situation, whether it’s in a business situation or an educational one, that kind of practice is really useful.”

During the day, the students were interviewed extensively during the first round of judging. First, second, third and honourable mentions were awarded to each group of five to eight projects. A second round of judging was used to determine the best in each grade, best in fair, specialty awards and the Canada Wide Science Fair awards.

The best in grade winners this year were:

Grade 4: Olivia Grass, SALT: A Deadly Solution, Queen Victoria Public School; Grade 5: Kieran Craig, That’s a Wrap, Prince Edward Collegiate Institute; Grade 6: Neva Thapa, Do You Like My Genes, Queen Victoria; Grade 7: Amelia Edwards, Going Bananas About DNA, Albert College; Grade 8: Alex Rozic, Do You See What I See, St. Paul Catholic Secondary School; Grades 9-12: Trishna Krishantha, Amoxicillin and Vitamin C Working Together, Albert College.

The Canada Wide Science Fair qualifiers include:

Lyola Brownlee, St. Jospeh Catholic School, project: not so slippery slopes; William Tomlinson, Susanna Moodie Elementary School, roject: SBSP: plugging in the planet; Isabella Watts-Horricks, St. Michael’s Catholic School, project: A Matter Of Spatter; Miranda Alvarez Rodríguez, Albert College, project: Bacteria on your hands after hand-drying; Trisha Krishantha, Albert College, project: Amoxicillin and Vitamin C Working Together.

At the Canada Wide Science Fair they compete for almost one million dollars in awards. They will be given tours, workshops and demonstrations of regionally and nationally important science.

For more information on the 58th Canada Wide Science Fair visit http://cwsf.youthscience.ca