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GHS students fare well at first state science fair; Singh to compete at nationals

Photo courtesy Naomi Finnegan
Grangeville High School state science fair participants are (L-R) Kevin Finnegan, Amrit Singh, Kortney Sims, Caleb Barger, Rachel Kelley, Nichole Blackmer, Paige Lindsley, Tessa Godfrey, Noah VanDomelen, Catherine Rockwell and Thuan Lee.


Photo courtesy Naomi Finnegan Grangeville High School state science fair participants are (L-R) Kevin Finnegan, Amrit Singh, Kortney Sims, Caleb Barger, Rachel Kelley, Nichole Blackmer, Paige Lindsley, Tessa Godfrey, Noah VanDomelen, Catherine Rockwell and Thuan Lee.



— Grangeville High School students had a very good run at their first-ever science fair Saturday, March 4.

Twelve GHS students in grades nine through 12 – along with teachers Shaun Bass and Naomi Finnegan — made the trip to the state’s first fair (held in three areas in the state the same day) and came home with medals and awards for all.

Junior Amrit Singh was awarded best in fair and will travel on an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles in May to compete at the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Bass will also attend the contest.

“The funds for this came down through the governor’s office in an effort to help promote STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics],” Bass explained. As soon as the first three projects were confirmed and approved through the state, the school was awarded $3,000 to help with inclusion in the fair.

Bass said the time frame for this first year was a bit of a crunch in order for students to get in all the data they need for the competition.

“A lot of them were still working on their projects up to that last week, right before the competition,” Bass said.

Singh’s project was on consumer spending.

“I am pretty excited to go to L.A.,” he smiled. “I think this is something I would be interested in doing again, too.”

“I think the hardest part was not knowing what to expect, since I had never done anything like this before,” said junior Tessa Godfrey. Her project focused on groups of whitetail deer during rut and non-rut seasons.

Godfrey said she is unsure if she would be able to compete next year, simply due to the time factor.

“This year we had some time in class, but next year I won’t be in the class, so I am not sure I would have time to do it and it’s pretty time consuming,” she explained.

Bass said he hopes to be able to offer some extra credit incentive in his science classes to keep the kids interested and perhaps get others involved. He also hopes to be able to add some of the projects as senior projects, which would help with the time factor.

Teams Rachel Kelley and Kortney Sims, seniors, and Paige Lindsley (sophomore) and Kallie Arnzen (junior) all worked with mice, which was something new for Bass.

“There are rules in working with live specimen,” for an extended project, he said. “It’s all been a learning curve.” Now, the science department has much of the equipment needed if more students decide to participate next year. This includes cages, water bottles, bedding, feed and mazes. Other projects included growing plants as well as taking polls.

Students kept journals, recorded data, made presentation boards and presented to judges their final results at the Moscow fair.

Awards for the fair included the following:

•Amrit Singh: best of fair; gold medal; Naval science award.

•Tessa Godfrey: gold medal; Idaho Academy for Science and Engineering – outstanding research project.

•Noah VanDomelen and Catherine Rockwell (team): gold medal; U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize regional award; U.S. Air Force Outstanding Science or Engineering fair project; ASU Walton Substainability Solution award; USMA Best of SI.

•Paige Lindsley and Kally Arnzen (team): silver medal.

•Rachel Kelley and Kortney Sims (team): silver medal; American Psychological Association award; U.S. Air Force Outstanding Science or Engineering fair project.

•Nichole Blackmer: silver medal; U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize regional award; NASA Earth Science System award; Association for Women Geoscientist Excellence award; American Meteorological Society award.

•Thuan Lee: NOAA’s 2017 Taking the Pulse of the Planet award; American Meteorological Society award; ASU Walton Substainability Solutions award.

•Kevin Finnegan and Caleb Barger (team): Yale Science and Engineering Association, Inc., Outstanding Computer Science Exhibit.



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