by Lisa Tome
When Nick Capano selected his school mandatory science project, he chose a topic he will use for the rest of his life.
That turned out to be the perfect strategy for winning.
Capano, an eighth grader at Perryville Middle School, was tops among the 318 entries. He received a medal, ribbon, and will now move on to other competitions. He said it was unexpected. Capano explained that he came up with the project titled "Little Weight Lifters" while "messing around on his boat with pulleys." He then used hands on science to put what he learned together.
"If I ever needed to move a log in the woods, I would use pulleys," said Capano. He said it took him a week to do the experiment and three hours to put together the display board. He also said that he chose the project as a way to learn and was more focused on that than competing. He also realizes his finished project wasn't as professional looking as some that he bested.
"I was going to print out a graph on the computer but I didn't know how," he said.
Science teacher Kate Ramey said that his project wasn't flashy. She said that the judges, which included STEM students, retired teachers, and science savvy people from APG, duPont, and North Bay, were impressed with Capano's knowledge during his oral presentation. "It's important for them to choose something they are interested in or excited about," said Ramey.
She explained the process in preparing students for the annual fair. The school supplies the display boards. Staff also stays after school to offer extra help. There is in class preparations and lending of necessary equipment.
Ramey said she is proud of Capano's project. They will fine tune it in preparation for other levels of competition.
"I've never seen Nick so excited about school," said his mother, Renee. She said that she and her husband, Chris, are beyond excited about Nick's success.
His project will now be part of the STEM Gallery at Elkton High School. He will be one of the Rising Stars at that event. His project will then move on to Regionals on March 20-21 in Baltimore.