"This is the highest level of scientific work I have ever seen," said veteran Science Fair coordinator Dr. Jose D'Arruda. "This is what doing science is all about."
The 20th Region IV Science Fair was held March 21 on the UNC Pembroke campus, and Dr. D'Arruda has been there for every one. This year, 317 science projects from over 50 different schools in the region were judged, and the best are sent to state competition next month in Greensboro.
The purpose of the Science Fair is to expose students to the rigors of scientific methodology, Dr. D'Arruda said.
"There isn't enough emphasis placed in the public schools on science because it is not one of the tested areas," he said. "That's a shame."
On the other hand, Dr. D'Arruda said the topics and projects in the Science Fair are more complex each year.
"I haven't seem any volcanoes this year," he said. "I am really impressed with the visual effects of many of the projects this year."
One project that impressed the judges was submitted by overall winner Franklin Clark IV, a student at Fayetteville Academy.
"The name of my project would fill up a page," Mr. Clark said. "In short, it's about the effects of artificial reparian buffers on erosion of rivers."
He had some advice for fellow contestants.
"I got the idea from my father," Mr. Clark said. "I worked over 100 hours on it."
Other contestants were divided about whether science projects were for fun or learning.
Brandon Merritt and Blake Rich, both of Bladen Lakes Elementary School, said "learning stuff" was the most important part of the competition.
"My project was to find out what is the hottest part of the day," Mr. Rich said. "It's 1 p.m." Beth Mundy and Allie Marshall of Elizabethtown Primary Schools said fun and learning were both important. "My project was on the insulating effects of fat," Ms. Mundy said "My hypothesis was that the more fat the warmer water would stay. I used shortening."
As with many projects, the results Ms. Mundy found were not in line with her hypothesis. But, she said, "that's OK."
WINNERS IN THE 20TH UNCP REGION IV SCIENCE FAIR
Biotechnology Award: Whitney Kinlaw of Dublin Elementary
American Meteorology Awards: Elizabeth Godwin, Dunn Middle; Paizley Patterson, Southeastern Academy; Ethan Lamaster, Bladen Lakes; Elizabeth Kerry Locklear, Purnell Swett; Elizabeth Locklear, Red Springs.
American Nuclear Society Award: Hon. Mention: Taylor Lammonds, Star/Biscoe Elementary; Matthew Lanier, Star/ Biscoe; 3rd - Max Hartley, Clarkton School of Discovery; 2nd - Shannon Hester, Bladenboro High School; 1st - David Settle of Hallsboro Middle
Elementary Competition Winners: (eight top places qualify for state competition) 1st - Laura Spell, Fayetteville Academy; 2nd - Theresa King, Lafayette Elementary; 3rd - McKenzie Matthews, Angier Elementary; 4th - Kathie Mac Taylor, Wescare Christian Academy; 5th Kelsey Blake - E. Melvin Honeycutt Elementary; 6th - David Kinlaw, Bladen Lakes Primary; 7th Ethan Lamaster, Bladen Lakes Primary; 8th - Stevie Bunn - Elizabethtown Primary
2nd Place - Nicole Evans, St. Pauls Elementary; Heather Hartley and Charlotte Tatum, Elizabethtown Elementary; Mical Moore - Booker T. Washington Elementary; Victor Onate, Oxendine Elementary
3rd Place - Jarod Rodgers, Mt. Gilead Elementary; Brittany Martin, Star/Biscoe Elementary; Jacob Elliott, Page Street Elementary; Allison Cape Fear Christian Academy.
Biology: 1st place - Matt Williamson, Southeastern Academy; 2nd - Bailey Shook, Flora McDonald Academy; 3rd - Dwayne Beason II, John Griffin Middle; 4th Graham Strother and Greg Brigman, West Hoke Middle
Physical Science: 1st - David Settle, Hallsboro Middle; 2nd - Caitlin Barnes, South View Middle; 3rd - Paul Coppala, Hoke Middle; 4th - Brett Young, Northwood Temple Academy
Earth Science: 1st - Elizabeth Godwin, Dunn Middle; 2nd - Max Hartley, Clarkton School of Discovery; 3rd - Heather Brewer, St. Pauls Middle; 4th - Cameron Dowless, Clarkton School of Discovery
Science and Technology: 1st - Aaron Plarnick, John Griffin Middle; 2nd - Jeremy Faircloth, Dunn Middle; Katrina Van Borkulo, Northwood Temple; 4th - Zachary Crowford, West Hoke Middle
Senior High Division
Biology: 1st - Nathan Humphrey, Flora McDonald Academy; 2nd - Pete Marozzi, Union Pines; 3rd - Charlotte Johnson - Purnell Swett; 4th - Elizabeth Locklear, Purnell Swett
Science and Technology: 1st Bryce Bordone, Fayetteville Academy; 2nd - Brittany Estadt, Tar Heel; 3rd - Jonathan Blue, Northwood Temple; 4th - Jena Babson, Bladenboro
Physical Science: 1st - Noele Hester, Bladenboro; 2nd - Christopher Henley, Fayetteville Academy; 3rd - Jaimie Locklear, Red Springs; 4th Jennifer Davis, Bladenboro
Earth Science: 1st - Franklin Clark, Fayetteville Academy; 2nd - Elizabeth Locklear, Red Springs; 3rd - Ben Burke, Flora McDonald; 4th - James Sessoms, Tar Heel