SISD students showcase projects in district science fairs; middle, high school winners advance to regional fair
More than 600 elementary, middle and high school SISD students who won top spots at their campus science fair participated in the 2020-2021 district virtual science fairs.
The students rose to the challenge of completing their projects, many of them in remote learning, and presenting via a new video format.
Those in sixth through 12th grade who earned the top two places in each category will now compete in the 2021 Sun Country Regional Science Fair, with a chance to advance to the 2021 Texas Science and Engineering Fair.
This year, SISD students were asked to submit a five-minute video presentation of their science project instead of the traditional in-person presentation. The judges then reviewed the submissions over the course of a week and gave their scores.
Team SISD pioneered the new virtual format to ensure students still had the opportunity to participate in the district science fairs in a safe way during the ongoing pandemic.
“Despite these challenging times, we were not willing to cancel the science fair, it was just not an option,” said Danielle Navariz, SISD instructional officer for elementary science. “We had to brainstorm creative ways to continue the SISD science fair, and we did, virtually.”
There were more than 300 project submissions at the elementary level with more than 65 judges from different high school programs at SISD and 28 campus coordinators who helped make the virtual science fair run smoothly.
John Drugan School won campus sweepstakes for both elementary and middle school. John Drugan students Angel O’Hara, third grade, and Santiago Galindo, fifth grade, won sweepstakes for their grade levels. O’Hara’s category was behavioral and social science and Galindo’s was mathematics.
Lujan-Chavez Elementary School fourth grader Alyssa Dickerson won sweepstakes for her project, which was in the earth and environmental category.
SISD instructional officer for secondary science Frank McDonald said this year the district’s middle school science fair was the first district secondary fair to be run in the region.
“We went in there headfirst,” McDonald said. “We were the trailblazers of this entire process.”
The judges for the middle school and high school fairs are representatives of entities outside of the district, including UTEP students and Texas Tech medical students.
More than 200 projects were submitted at the SISD middle school science fair and more than 100 at the high school level, with more than 100 judges for both fairs.
John Drugan School won sweepstakes in all three grade levels in middle school. Sixth grader Kaitlyn Guevara won with her physical science project, seventh grader Matias Lopez won with his engineering project, and eighth grader Caroline Garcia won with her life science project.
Caroline Garcia advanced to the regional science fair for the third straight year and also hopes to advance to the state level for the third straight year.
“I feel very good about it (going to regionals again) because I know I can do it,” Garcia said. “My dad always tells me that effort is directly proportionate to success and that has stuck with me ever since.”
There were 44 first and second place winners at the middle school level and 40 first and second place winners at the high school level. They will now compete at the regional science fair.
Two students from El Dorado High School won sweepstakes. Senior Nicole De Santiago won with her physical science project and junior Brandon Smithson with his engineering project.
Americas High School won the high school campus sweepstakes this year and Americas High School junior Alejandro Padilla won sweepstakes for his project in the life science category.
“We’re definitely ready to take on regionals,” McDonald said. “This is a different year for all of us, so it’ll be interesting to see how many of our students come out on top.”
Elementary school award video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30q5hXbOaPs&t=6s
Middle school award video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0pEW4qU2Gs&t=1s
High school award video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0nEzK7h63M&t=2s
Published February 22, 2021
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