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Projects on living wills, paint take top honors

The Best in Show Award was the brass ring of this year's Regional Science and Engineering Fair. Five judges rated each project. One winner from high school and one winner from middle school prevailed by having the highest average score.

"The awards were given based on judged criteria with survey sheets and comments," said fair coordinator and Central High zoology and marine biology teacher Chad Willman. "The judges were looking for a total well-rounded project exemplifying good research and presentation."

The high school winner was Springstead High freshman Stephen Hallet. He did a behavioral sciences project in which he determined which age group was most likely to have a living will.

"It was a subject that was getting a lot of attention at the time I started it," Stephen said. "I want to be a lawyer, so it gave me a chance to work with attorneys and see how they dealt with some legal cases."

Willman said he thought the project won because it was an interesting and topical subject, and Stephen's research was thorough and his presentation well done.

"He started the project over the summer when the Terri Schiavo case was very prominent," Willman said. "He spent almost a year doing it, working with lawyers and psychologists. He did an excellent job collecting data and analyzing it to make an exceptional project."

Now that the regional fair is over, Stephen said he is looking forward to the state competition.

"I feel relieved that this one is over and I won, but also excited about the next fairs," he said. "I can't wait for it all to happen."

Johnny Campbell, a seventh-grader at Parrott Middle School, won Best in Show for middle school by testing model rockets to see which type of paint reduced friction the most in travel.

"The judges scored him exceptionally high because he explained everything very well," said Colleen Doulk, a sixth-grade life sciences teacher at Challenger K-8 School of Science and Mathematics and co-director of the fair. "He also presented himself very well and took pride in every aspect of the project."

"I got the idea from a technology class, where we built model rockets," said Johnny. "I wanted to see if different paints would make them go higher. I found out the glossy paint finish produces the least friction."

He was excited about winning Best in Show, and his mother, Laurie, was thrilled.

"This is awesome," she said. "I'm so proud of him."