PORT HAWKESBURY: The 2019 Strait Regional Science Fair will mark two significant milestones: the 20th anniversary of the fair and the largest university scholarship in its history will be awarded!

It’s that time of year again to celebrate the achievements of young scientists in the Strait area. The annual Strait Regional Science Fair will be celebrated from April 1-3 at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre.

On Tuesday, April 2, the public is invited to an open house to view the Grades 3 to 12 student projects from 2-3 p.m. in the Bear Head Room at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre. The awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday, April 3 at 7 p.m. at the SAERC Auditorium.

Support from local universities continues with Dalhousie University, Cape Breton University, StFX, the Dalhousie Agriculture Campus, and Saint Mary’s University presenting scholarships to Grade 12 students at the awards ceremony. In addition, the exciting news for the 20th anniversary of the fair is the Cape Breton University scholarship of $2,500 that is renewable up to four years for a possible $10,000 for a deserving student over the course of their university studies.

During the last several months, the Strait region’s young scientists have been busy preparing, fine-tuning and presenting their projects at local school fairs. Winners of the school fairs will then compete at the upcoming 20th Strait Regional Science Fair.

Students from Grades 3 to 12 are eligible to participate in the Strait Regional Science Fair. The Strait Regional Science Fair is one of the only fairs that has participation from elementary students. In addition, many students have gone on to win awards at the national level. The project “Delve into Dimensions” (from Dr. J.H. Gillis) won a bronze medal and a scholarship to attend International Summer School for Young Physicists Award, valued at $3500.

Participation in the fair provides students with an excellent educational opportunity, one in which they will learn more about the field of science while enhancing their skills in a variety of areas and having fun with their friends.

Andrew Clarey, chair of the Strait Regional Science Fair Committee, said that there are about 140 students from Grades 3 to 12 participating in the regional fair. Four students from Grades 7 to 12 will represent the Strait region at the Canada Wide Science Fair scheduled for May 11-18 at UNB in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The top four projects will go on to compete with more than 450 others at the national fair and compete for over $250,000 in cash awards, as well as scholarships and other awards. In addition, the Nova Scotia Science Fair Showcase will be held at St. Mary’s University in Halifax from May 2-4. These opportunities are made possible through the support of Youth Science Canada (YSC).

The Strait Regional Science Fair has showcased more than 3,500 projects during the last 18 years.

Grades 3 to 6 projects are judged on scientific skill, lay-out and design, originality, interview and artistic value. The Grades 7 to 12 projects are separated into three levels, Junior, Intermediate and Senior, and six divisions to facilitate judging. In addition, students are asked to classify their project as one of three types – experiment, innovation or study – for the purpose of evaluating the scientific thought portion of the judging. The seven science divisions include innovation, energy, environment, health, information, resources, and discovery.

The Strait regional centre for education would like to thank members of the 2019 science fair committee for their ongoing dedication to providing students with an excellent educational opportunity. The Strait Regional Science Fair Planning Committee members include Andrew Clarey, Chair, Cape Breton Highlands Education Centre/Academy; Betsy Jardine, Whycocogmah Education Centre; Tracy MacIsaac, SAERC; Chris West, retired teacher; Nathan Cormier, Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional High School; Stephanie MacDonald, Dalbrae Academy; Justin Fougere, Richmond Education Centre/Academy; and Mark Pettipas, SRCE Science Coordinator.

On behalf of the planning committee, Clarey thanked students for their dedication to participating in the event and parents/guardians for their ongoing support in helping their children prepare top-quality projects. In addition, Clarey extends special thanks to the local business community for their continued support of the event and for their commitment to sponsoring the student awards; and sincere thanks to the many judges who number close to 100 each year, and who volunteer their time to review the outstanding projects – which is no easy task. When the judging is all said and done, some of the top competitors continue on to provincial showcases and to the national championships.

The local and regional fairs are a perfect opportunity for emerging young scientists who will help shape tomorrow as inventors and researchers.

The Strait Regional Science Fair began under the leadership of retired teacher David Cashin who was instrumental in getting the event off the ground. Since that time, the event has grown both in the number of students involved and the amount of space required to host the event. The fair began in Mulgrave, moved to the former Centennial Elementary school site, then to SAERC with additional space provided at the former Canso Regional Vocational School. For the past 11 years, the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre has hosted the impressive event.