Acknowledging the high quality of the science projects at this year’s system science and engineering fair, Chairperson Patrick Daly commended students for their hard work which he said, “each year, gets better and better.”
Close to 230 science projects were on display at the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board’s 36th Annual System Science and Engineering Fair at Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School on March 3.
Some focused on timely topics such as “Preventing Hot Car Deaths” and “Concussion Discussion” while others asked interesting questions, like “How Stretchy is Your Water?” and “Does Money Make You Sick?”
At an afternoon awards ceremony, Daly thanked the fair co-chairs and the many volunteers who played an instrumental role in the day’s success, as well as the principals, vice-principals and especially teachers for inspiring students each day in the classroom.
He added that as a parent, he understands the level of support and encouragement that it takes.
“I want to say, as a parent to parents, we see on display today what a tremendous and special gift we have in publicly funded Catholic education in Ontario.”
This year, as Catholic schools throughout the province commit to ‘Renewing the Promise’ of Catholic education, Daly encouraged parents and Catholic school supporters to take every opportunity to defend and promote the “great gift entrusted to us.”
“We see today how academic excellence and faith formation intersect to make our children the whole living people that we want them to be.”
He urged those “whole living people” to continue to grow in their knowledge of engineering and science, and to use that knowledge throughout their life “to promote the common good.”
Our world looks to you, he said.
The connection between religion and science was also addressed by Director of Education David Hansen who shared an analogy by Albert Einstein about a small child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages.
“The child knows someone must have written those books but he doesn’t know how, and does not understand all the languages in which they are written,” recounted Hansen. “The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the books but doesn’t know what it is.”
“’That, it seems to me,’ said Einstein, ‘is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.’”
“We are little children – we really don’t know much about our world. Even our greatest scientists are likely only browsing in the children’s section of the library,” explained Hansen. “But there is no limit to our capacity to discover, invent and reveal what we don’t know, and that limitless capacity in each of us is perhaps the greatest gift we have been given by God.”
That limitless capacity demonstrated by students through the science fair was recognized with awards and medals.
Leading the presentation were the recipients of the BASEF awards, presented to the top four exhibits in Grades 7-12: Anthony Saturnino, a Grade 7 student at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Elementary School for “Preventing Hot Car Deaths;” Christopher Lamont, Grade 7, from St. Margaret Mary for “Compartment Syndrome;” Faith Pagunsan and Illyria Volcansek, Grade 8, from St. Martin of Tours for “Visual, Auditory, Tactile … OH MY!;” and Daniel Rico and Esteban Jimenez Mendoza, Grade 8, from St. Vincent de Paul for “Eye Tricked You!.”
Highest scoring projects in the category of Environmental Science were: “The Ocean Cleaner” by Aleyna Kalsi, a Grade 4 student at St. Paul School; “Saving Energy” by Mark Sbrissa, Grade 8, from St. Martin of Tours; “Soil Moisture” by Devan Tasse and Ethan Shannon, Grade 7, from St. Luke; and “Bioplastic Brawl” by Alyssa Naguit, Grade 8, Our Lady of Lourdes.
Gold (85-100%) winning schools this year included St. Ann Ancaster, St. Clare of Assisi, St. Gabriel, St. Martin of Tours, and St. Vincent de Paul.
Medalling at the silver level (74-84.99%) were St. John Paul II, Blessed Sacrament, Corpus Christi, Holy Name of Mary, Immaculate Conception, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Augustine, St. Anthony Daniel, St. Luke, St. Margaret Mary, St. Paul, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and St. Thomas the Apostel.
Bronze (65-74.99) schools included Annunciation of Our Lord, Canadian Martyrs, Our Lady of Lourdes, Regina Mundi, St. Bernadette, St. David, St. Joachim, St. Joseph, St. Lawrence, St. Mark, and St. Michael.
“I congratulate each of you for your efforts and for taking a book out from God’s library and beginning your exploration of discovery,” said Hansen in concluding remarks.
“We wish you every success in your future explorations and never forget the gift that your parents and teachers and supporters have given you in helping you to wonder about the mysteries of our world.”
The top exhibits for Grades 7-12 will advance to the Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair on March 21-27.