The Berks-Mont News (

Kutztown Middle Schoolers medal at Science Fair

By Roxanne Richardson, For 21st Century Media

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Kutztown Middle School scientists won medals for their scientific creativity and skills.

“In the same way that we watch the winter Olympics to marvel at the talent and artistry of the best athletes in the world, we also gather around the 5th grade Science Fair projects to marvel at the scientific skill and creativity of our very own scientists,” wrote Science Fair Coordinator, Linda Schroeder in a letter. “Only true scientists are able to research, collect data, and develop graphs and charts based on experiments that they designed. Just like Olympic athletes, they have proven that they are the best, and some earn trophies.”

Although the 2014 Kutztown Middle School Science and Technology Fair had to be cancelled due to weather, the projects were still judged at the Kutztown Elementary School in February.

Awards were presented to the young scientists during a Kutztown School Board meeting.

“Snowstorm prevented us from hosting the full fledged Science and Technology Fair we typically have at the middle school, but the contest coordinator, Linda Schroeder, didn’t let a little bit or a lot of snow stop her,” said Phil Moyer, Science Fair host since 2007, along with Kim Brazina, Science Fair host since its early years, both seniors. “She was adamant that the students be given a chance to be judged for their efforts and be honored for the work they’ve done.”

“When they got their medals, she [Schroeder] gave them a pep talk. She said, ‘You guys are all winners. You all decided to step up and do this; you didn’t have to. Even if you don’t get a trophy, continue doing the science, it’s really important.’ She is so proud of them. I was getting all teary-eyed,” said Mrs. Horvath. “It was a real good pep talk.”

The following were awarded first, second, and third place trophies for their projects in the Individual and Group Categories.

Individual Category:

First Place - Zoe Weidman, Poodles and Their Olfactory Perception

Second Place - Abe Friehauf, Sponge vs. Sponge

Third Place - Treven Mullen, Mold Grow

Group category:

First Place - Kyra Meixell and Brooke Hallock, Plants and Pollution

Second place - Marina Schnell and Allison Brooks, Clean Cat categories

Third place - Emma Keller and Brianna Stauffer, KA-BOOM

Every student who entered a project in the fair received a Participation Medal.

Schroeder noted that the fair usually includes science activities and demonstrations, FFA animals, KASMA refreshments, and the Middle School Jazz Band. She said the biggest snowstorm of the decade changed what is normal, but none of it could happen if not for the generous yearly funding by the Kutztown Education Foundation.

Schroeder also gave thanks to all the 5th grade scientists who taught us about optimum popcorn storage temperature, absorbent paper towels, long lasting nail polish, crystals, eye color, squirrel food preferences, the strength of metal, light filtration through different objects, the whitening ability of toothpaste, melting chocolate, cookie color and taste perception, and other amazing projects.

“All the kids, the students, the scientists, you would not believe the time and the effort and the heart that they put into these projects and I’m so proud of every one of them,” said Schroeder.

One third of the fifth grade students compete every year and continue to pursue explorations into high school and beyond. Kutztown Superintendent Katherine Metrick that the Kutztown Middle School Science Olympiad Team competed against 38 other teams and took fourth place. Overall the team had received medals or ribbons for 12 of 23 events. Included among the 39 teams competing this year were teams from other states who recently attended nationals. One other team, Strath Haven, represented Pennsylvania at the National Competition last year. Kutztown Middle School finished five spots better at this tournament with Strath Haven finishing ninth. Metrick added that Kutztown Middle School finished second only to Devon Prep by a mere 30 points or they would have had the top Pennsylvania School Honors.

“The accomplishment of the Kutztown Middle School Science Olympiad Team is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the students,” said Metrick.

Entrants in the Future City Competition, Genevieve Gawlik, Tiberius Shaub and Porter Holt, also provided a presentation for their Future City Project, developed with Sim City Software over the better part of 54 hours. The project also required a written city narrative and city essay explaining the city of the future staged 150 years into the future with 200,000 residents. The rest of the project was to develop a 3D model 50 inches long by 25 inches wide by 20 inches high with a moving part. The designers then needed to develop a five to seven minute long presentation for competition.

“Are you tired of rebuilding every time there’s a storm? Fed up with all the talk about rising sea levels, global warming, and climate change? Tired of food and water shortages? I’m Nevie Gawlik, president of Oceanus Vitae, and I invite you to come and experience ocean living in North American pod colony,” said Gawlik to a future tenant.

Gawlik and her partners demonstrated lights and working parts of the city to an audience of about 85 to 100 attendees including fellow scientists and school board members. The team won an award for Best Moving Part and Innovative Use of Plumbing Technology.