Science fair winners announced

Feats of problem solving by elementary through high school students were awarded at the 42nd Terrebonne Parish Science and Engineering Fair Awards Program, two of whom go directly to international competition.

“It’s amazing, I did not think I would be here tonight and it’s great. I’m, I’m just speechless.” said Evan Crispino, 15, a ninth grader from Terrebonne High School.

He and Bailey Dupre, 17, an eleventh grader of South Terrebonne High, will be travelling to Pittsburgh to compete in internationals against people from around the world.

Bailey’s project was titled “Orchestrated Organisms.” People sickened by sharing instrument mouth pieces inspired her to search for the cause. Through her study she found the culprit, staphylococcus aureus bacterium.

“It’s located right here under your nose,” she said, pointing to her face. “It’s safe, until it’s in you.”

Evan’s experiment, “The Napkin Ring Paradox,” was inspired by a video he found on YouTube. He was not thrilled by most of the experiments until he came across one involving a mathematical paradox.

“If two napkin rings have the same height, they will have the same volume,” he explained. “So, a napkin ring is a sphere with a cylindrical hole cut through the middle. If you took a bigger napkin ring and a smaller napkin ring and you measured how much space they took up, they would have the same amount of space.”

The international finals will consist of the best projects created by 1500 students from 70 countries, and Nobel Peace Prize winners are judging it, said assistant coordinator Paul Johnson.

“It’s like being at the Olympics only its academics.” Johnson said, describing the internationals.

Johnson and Cotton discussed the importance of the competition in developing real-world skills the kids exercised during the competition, “It’s like being on a football team and never playing a game. All you’re doing is passes and blocking, catching the ball but you never play. This is playing a game,” said Johnson.

“It’s just little things like that you know, that’s not necessarily a resume builder but… It’s not just about the paperwork, it’s about the process that they go through. It forces kids into speaking to adults and defending their project. Which doesn’t often present itself, or give the opportunity, in the classroom.” Cotton said.

The two proceeded to speak of how past competitors went on to further successes. One in Particular, Adeline Martin of South Terrebonne High School, who competed in 2015, was recently accepted into Harvard University.

Contestants who received first place could still make it to Internationals, but they will first have to compete in the State Championships hosted by LSU.

One such first place winner, Liz Diaz, 14, of H L Bourgeois High School was excitedly explaining her project as her mother, Yajira Diaz, seated a short distance away, looked on with pride.

Liz’s project, “Nano Dangers,” tested the effects of carbon nanofibers had on living organisms.

She and her father, Jose Diaz, laughed as they reminisced with how the project took over the living room. Enthusiastically, her father spoke of how his daughter tackled the project on her own.

“It’s a challenge for the kid to prepare that kind of project,” he said, “because that information sometimes way above our heads, and they have to get a lot of research about that kind of information.”

Many at the event acknowledged how the internet’s influence could be felt in all of the projects. The trove of information it granted contestants left adults in attendance in awe.

“Its inspiring to see what our youths are capable of,” said “because some of this stuff – I can’t grasp it. When you look at it, it’s overwhelming.”

The capability the internet provided for children to learn, said, has made the children fearless in tackling difficult questions.

Bubba Orgeron, assistant superintendent of Terrebonne Parish, was viewing the “Nano Dangers” project as Liz explained it to him. He expressed how he was captivated with the practicality of the contestants targeted problems chosen to solve. He was motivated by how the event taught how to search for the root of the problem.

“What you did here… and some of the problems you tried to solve here were phenomenal,” he said to the crowd during his opening speech, “That is a skill set, solving problems and asking those questions, that can carry you throughout life.”

The senior division first place awards were as follows: Delaney Ferrer of Terrebonne HS, Bailey Lirette of South Terrebonne HS, Bailey Dupre of South Terrebonne HS, Evan Crispino of Terrebonne HS, Logan Warnke of H L Bourgeois HS, Talya Mozesky of South Terrebonne HS, Liz Diaz of H L Bourgeois HS, Jade Cunningham and Jacey Eschete of H L Bourgeois.

The Junior Division first place awards were as follows: Landon Eschete of Montegut Middle, Deborah Baudoin of Evergreen Jr. High, Cooper Fontenot of Houma Junior High, Thaddeaus William of Houma Junior High, Carter Domangue of Mulberry Elementary, Cooper Adkins of Evergreen Junior High, Micah Kanju of Mulberry Elementary, Claire Cabirac of Mulberry Elementary, Amelia Ferrer of Houma Junior High, Charlotte Lottinger of Mulberry Elementary, Aubin Adams and Jace Fonseca of Montegut Middle School.

Science Fair