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Victoria students qualify for state fair


March 26, 2009 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated March 25, 2009 at 10:26 p.m.

Memorial High School senior Sarah Parkinson prepares her poster board for the state science and engineering fair in San Antonio Friday to Sunday.

Sarah Parkinson was nervous as she waited on stage for the announcer to name the first-place winner at the Alamo Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

And when she heard her name called, she felt she had accomplished her goal: Winning the microbiology division.

The Memorial High School senior entered her experiment on bacterial communities in the regional fair.

"I was so shocked when I heard that I placed first," Sarah said.

Sarah and Rebecca Takacs, an MHS sophomore, qualified for the state competition in San Antonio. Six other MHS students and four students from Howell Middle School and one student from Crain Middle School competed at the regional competition.

"When they put us all on stage and started naming us from fifth to first place, I was nervous," Rebecca said. "I wasn't expecting to place second at all."

Sarah and Parkinson and three Victoria middle school students will compete Friday through Sunday at the state science fair in San Antonio.

Rebecca experimented with improving algae growth by carbon dioxide enrichment, she said.

"My dad attended a convention in Kerrville about making biofuel out of algae," Rebecca said. "When he told me, I started to do research and decided to do my own experiment."

Students received tips from judges on how to improve the appearance of their projects, Milton Stoilis, MHS science teacher, said.

"This was a great experience for the students because those that continued know what adjustments they need to make and those that didn't know what they need to work on for next year," Stoilis said.

Experiments were judged on originality, how much work went into the experiment, if laboratory research was necessary, and if the experiment would benefit people, Sarah said.

"To compete in the regional competition we have to start on our projects before the winter break," Sarah said.

The students competed against 375 high school and middle school students from 20 schools.

Students are judged in different divisions, all middle school students compete against each other in their specified field, same for the high school students, Stoilis said.

"I'm a little nervous about state, but I'm going to review all my research," Rebecca said. "I think I'll do fine."



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