by Lisa Tome
The annual North East Elementary School Science Fair is a family tradition for Marian Martino and her mother, Cathy Benjamin.
About two decades ago, Benjamin, who is now retired from the school, started offering the science fair as a voluntary project for students. Martino, now a teacher at the school, has taken over the tradition and is running the fair. Her mother volunteers to help. "She is actually my mother. It's a legacy," said Martino.
Preparations for the fair started months before the judging last Friday. In February, information regarding the fair was sent home. In March and April, five after school sessions were held to help students get their projects moving. The school, which is Title I, also provides materials for students who may not have access to what they need. The school PTO provides prizes and awards.
"The projects have become more sophisticated over the years. We stress that it's not a research project, it's an investigation," said Martino.
"It has grown as far as participation," said Benjamin. "A lot more private sector people want to be part of this event as judges and sponsors," said Benjamin.
Projects this year ranged from the very simple, "How Flowers Grow", to the more complex, "Iron: How much is too much?" and "Lemon LED Lights".
Judges are recruited from the community. This year, judges came from Delaware City Refinery and Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Stephen Harper came to judge from ECBC at APG. "I'm impressed. What impresses me is that I am looking for the totality of the circumstances from a science aspect. They are bringing skills at a young age," said Harper.
Winners for the 2014 North East Elementary School Science Fair:
Kindergarten - first place - Tommy Mulkern, second place - Allyson Banker, third place - Addison Williams
First grade - first place - Tamera Thompson, second place - Natalie Jones and Jack Barrett, third place - Aaron Klinger and Tage Bennett
Second grade - first place - Joseph Greto, second place - Aidan Grant, third place - Allyson Navarrette
Third grade - first place - Tori Compton, second place Jade Compton, third place - Kimberly Morris
Fourth grade - first place - Thomas Ream, second place - Garrett Slezak, third place Emily Sanborn
Fifth grade - first place - Joey Greenfield, second place - Tyler Dodson, third place - Sarah Sten