Credit: Teri Alvarez-Ziegler
NINTH GRADE HONORS — Ericka Garcia, pictured left, was the first-place winner in the ninth-grade division at the Sunnyside High School Science Fair. Second-place winner was Simon Copenhaver (not pictured), and third-place winner is Jazmine Valencia, pictured at right.
As of Wednesday, March 6, 2019
SUNNYSIDE The chemical smell of the rubber cement filled the hallway during the final minutes prior to the opening of the 2019 Sunnyside High School Science Fair this past Saturday morning.
Well-dressed students scrambled with the final details before setting up their boards in the classrooms where judging was scheduled to take place.
In science teacher Joyce Stark’s classroom, student Laura Becerra carefully added captions to her story board with explanation related to photographs already on the board.
Claiming she might have only slept four of the previous 14 hours edging up to the fair deadline, Becerra was nervously double checking her lists before heading to the judging rooms.
“I’ve spent hours conducting my experiments to determine how water wheels affect aquatic organisms,” she explained, hoping the judges would find her efforts worthy.
The students, hampered by snow days and school closures, spent some late nights in the labs, Stark said.
“They kept the computer lab busy for hours,” she explained. “They never gave up.”
The excitement and anxiety were palpable as students rushed to position their story boards, journals and report folders before the judges.
Promptly at 12:30 p.m., the 71 Sunnyside High School science fair participants were ready for the judges and the critical interviews.
“I’m a little nervous about the interviews,” admitted Elizabeth Alvarez, who was completed her project with minutes to spare.
“It’s very stressful, but exciting,” she said of her three-month long project to determine how household contaminants aid yeast respiration.
“I’m trying to determine which household cleaners will kill the yeast,” she mused.
Students begin to design their projects in December.
“We chose our projects, design work to include experiments,” Alvarez said.
Monday night, the winners of the local fair were named in ceremonies in the high school media center.
Alex Calzillo was awarded grand championship at the 2019 Sunnyside High School Science Fair.
Earning first place in the senior (10th-12th grade) division was Fabian Garcia, second place was Mishel Aguilar.
Erik Vergara earned honorable mention.
A ninth grade and a high school (10-12 grade) Grand champion will automatically advance to the 64th annual Mid-Columbia Regional Science and Engineering Fair scheduled March 14-16 at the Columbia Center Mall in Kennewick.
Those young scientists who earned enough points during the district fair will also advance to the regional fair, Stark said.
From there, the top placing students will go on to Washington State Science Fair in Bremerton the last week of March.
A complete list of the honorable mentions will be posted online.