Two sixth-graders from E.B. Frink Middle School in La Grange and a fifth-grader at Northwest Elementary in Kinston came home from the Southeast Regional Science and Engineering Fair in Wilmington on Saturday with honors, including a ticket to the state science fair for one of them.
Tyler Sears finished first in the Earth/Environmental Science category and will take his project on the drainage properties of soil to the state science fair in March. The top two projects in each of the seven categories for middle school and high school students advanced to the state.
Emma Dawson, a classmate of Sears’ at Frink, won a third-place medal in the Chemical category. Her project investigated the differences between natural and synthetic fabrics in absorbing dye.
“We’re so excited for them,” Frink principal Elizabeth Pendleton said. “They did a wonderful job.”
Sean Olesen of Northwest earned an honorable mention certificate for a project testing his hypothesis that size determines how quickly a comet melts.
“We’re very proud of the work he did on this project,” said his teacher, Sheila West, adding Sean will be recognized at school Wednesday during morning announcements.
LCPS sent 25 students from seven schools – the brains behind 10 elementary and 10 middle school division projects – to the regional fair, held at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Students from 13 counties competed in the regional event, having qualified as the top projects at their county-level competitions.
Tyler’s winning entry has relevance to work being overseen by his father, Kinston city manager Tony Sears – renovations to historic Grainger Stadium, home of the Texas Rangers’ minor league team beginning in April.
The project tested soil from five different locations to determine which drained best. Sandy soil from the mountains, the Piedmont, the beach, the Neuse River and Grainger were put into cups with holes in the bottom. A precise amount of water was poured into each cup, with another cup underneath each to collect the water that drained. By measuring the amount of water in the collection cups, Tyler determined the soil currently at Grainer drained best and Neuse River soil drained second-best.
The 2017 North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair will be held March 24-25 at Meredith College in Raleigh.