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School district science fair tonight

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

It’s not everyday that students from Bordewich-Bray Elementary School decide to build a working catapult.

But fifth-graders Roger Heilig and Cody Reno did.

And they’ll have their three-foot-tall wooden creation at tonight’s districtwide science fair at Western Nevada Community College.

They’ll also take the catapult, which they built over a weekend at Roger’s home, to the regional science fair at Lawlor Events Center in Reno.

“Yeah, I am excited to go (to the regionals), because I did the project with my friend Roger, and it was a whole lot of fun, and I’m surprised we won,” said Cody, who also took his project from last year to regionals.

So regionals are not new to him, nor is tonight’s districtwide event at the community college. More than 100 projects from students in the district’s six elementary schools and Carson Middle School will be on display. A recognition ceremony is scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. in Sarah Winnemucca Hall of the Aspen Building, where the projects will be set up. Viewing starts at 5:45 p.m.

“The district science fair brings all the schools together so students can see what other children are doing,” said Casey Gilles, vice principal at Bordewich-Bray, who is helping organize the event. “And it’s a chance to honor the students – we just felt it was a good way to promote science throughout the district. And these are the students who will be showing their work at regionals at the Lawlor Events Center the weekend of the 16th, 17th and 18th.”

While it seems like at least two schools in the district – Eagle Valley Middle School and Carson High School – are left out of tonight’s event, they’re not. Both schools do their own version of science projects throughout the year, Gilles said.

And some of Carson High School’s top science students will be at tonight’s science fair award ceremony to continue a feature started last year with geometry – interactive science projects with younger students.

“All students in the district are invited to the evening also because we have hands-on science activities,” Gilles said. “This is the best part. These are led by high school advanced science students. They come in and work with the students and, this year, the emphasis is on the magic of magnets and we have all these activities on magnets that the older students help them with.”

The hands-on activities will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Bristlecone Building. Refreshments will also be served here.

Tonight’s event features all of the top science fair winners from the various schools. The students already know they will receive recognition.

Roger and Cody, though, are not sure how well they’ll be able to demonstrate the scope of their catapult project once they set it up. The golf balls they experimented with went quite a distance when flung – 13 feet, 4 inches being the average – which could be a problem inside.

“We didn’t think it would be able to go that far,” Roger said.

That’s why, soon after they built the catapult – without help of instructions – they experimented with it in an open field.

“Actually, Mr. (Kinkade) DeJoseph inspired us to do this,” Cody said of their teacher. “He said it would be an impressive science fair project to be able to build a catapult.”

— Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.