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Students qualify for area science fair PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 09 March 2018 11:04


Students from all over Southwest Kansas participate in local science and engineering fair

• Seward County Community College

Sixty-two projects and 90 students will be representing Southwest Kansas at the Kansas State Science and Engineering Fair in April.

The projects were judged at the 10th annual Southwest Kansas Science and Engineering Fair at Seward County Community College on Saturday.

The one-day event, which covers 17 counties in Southwest Kansas, featured 83 science and engineering projects from 132 students. Elementary through high school grades from Rolla, Elkhart, Hugoton, Fowler, Sublette and Liberal participated.

“We had very good attendance,” said Luke Dowell, dean of arts and sciences. “We had a lot of family show up. They were looking at the projects and seeing what the kids had done. It’s great that more of the public showed up.”

According to Dr. William Bryan, regional science fair director and SCCC chemistry instructor, this is the third largest group in the fair’s 10-year history.

“I’m really pleased with the turnout,” Bryan said. “This is the first year that Fowler participated along with all the regulars who always come out.”

There were 20 categories each in three divisions and a separate division for third grade to pre-kindergarten. Not all categories had an entry. Each category had at least a gold medal winner, but the projects needed to meet a certain score to qualify for state. 

There were also three overall winners, one in each division, who received a plaque and a cash prize.

Each project was evaluated by three different judges, who included faculty, staff and students from SCCC as well as area high school faculty. Each judge was assigned to their field of specialty.

“It was a lot of fun to deal with a student who is excited about their project,” Dowell said. “Every student is interviewed and we get to communicate with them about what they’ve learned their project.”

Over the 10 years, seven of the state overall finalists have come through this fair.

Winners at the state level will move on to compete at the Intel International Science and Fair, which includes participants from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 75 countries, regions, and territories. 

The fair was originally created in 2008 as a part of a nine-district, state-wide competition through a grant from Spirit AeroSystems. Despite the grant expiring in 2010, the college continued to host the fair and absorbed all the costs, including the entrance fees to proceed to state.

“We decided that it was important to continue the fair,” said Bryan, who has been the fair director since the beginning. “It’s important that we have schools from here that can gather together and have their work judged without having to travel across the state. We give kids the opportunity to showcase their knowledge locally.”

The three overall winners were:

Senior Division

“Forage Quality Analysis for Sandhills Wetland Site” – Deserae Schwindt and Paige Claassen (Rolla High School, Morton County)

Intermediate Division

“The Butterfly Effect” – Ethan Duncan (Eisenhower Middle School, Seward County)

Junior Division

“Cleaning with Acid or Base” – Tyne Ellis (Rolla Elementary, Morton County)




About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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