"Its been a great day," Science Fair Organizer Sarah Liechty said during a quiet moment in a very hectic Saturday morning where more than 185 science projects were on display and ready for judging at Northview High School during the event.
Students representing every school and all grade levels from the county participated in various science classifications.
"We're thrilled with the turnout," Liechty said, appreciative of the support of the community and the patience of the parents waiting and watching the judging. "Science Fair participation gives kids a chance to learn so many skills they need for success."
Public speaking, problem solving using the scientific method and being creative are skills students learn through involvement in the program that began in late January for elementary students.
Mariah Brown, a Staunton Elementary kindergarten student, based her science project on whether her two pet hermit crabs liked to swim.
"They sure do," she said, holding up hermit crabs Beautiful and Jewel for a picture before putting them back in the water. "I had a lot of fun doing the project."
But many high school students began their projects as early as the summer of 2004.
Northview High School Senior Danica Neier has worked on her project since the summer of 2003.
"This is a continuation of my science project from last year," Neier said of her study about what types of roofing designs will best sustain the affects of hurricane force winds. "I did phase one last year. But with all the hurricanes this past year in Florida, and then the tsunami in Asia in December, this became more important to me and more significant as a project."
Projects were judged by members of the community throughout the morning until winners were announced in the NHS auditorium.
"The high school winners will go on to regional competition at DePauw University in the spring," said Liechty. "Many of the younger students will have their projects put on display at their schools during the coming week."