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Science Students Fair Well at Maui Competition

Molokai science fair participants slept on mats in a Maui high school gym. They didn’t have their own labs to prepare their projects. They barely came up with the funds to go to the competition. However, they came home from last Thursday’s Maui Schools’ Science and Engineering Fair with many awards and recognitions, including a top honor.

Students from Molokai middle and high schools participate in Maui Schools' Science and Engineering Fair

Students from Molokai middle and high schools participate in Maui Schools’ Science and Engineering Fair

Almost 30 students from Molokai Middle and High schools attended the event, and thirteen projects returned to the island with awards.

Sarah Jenkins, a 10th grader at Molokai High School (MHS), and her project “Artificial Nesting Structures for Hawaiian Coot Nesting Success,” earned the second place merit award. She will represent Maui County at the International Science and Engineering fair in Phoenix, Ariz., this May.

Supporter and middle school parent Kimberly Svetin described Jenkins’ win as “mind-blowing,” stressing the significance of Molokai students’ accomplishments even as they competed against private schools on an island with more opportunities and resources.

“Our kids have to work that much harder and really hunger for it, because we don’t have the fancy laboratories at our finger tips,” Svetin said. “They [Maui students] are utilizing these amazing resources, and we don’t have as many of those opportunities. And yet Molokai kids still excel.”

Jenkins and the three other merit award winners from Molokai — Lily Jenkins, Xrystina Bicoy and Shella Keahi — are eligible to attend the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair April 7-9 in Oahu.

Judges last week also recognized teachers for their outstanding contributions to science education. This was the first time the fair offered this honor, and educators from Molokai High and Middle took all four awards.

Scott Hemenway, an eighth grade teacher at Molokai Middle School (MMS), was one of the four teachers who attended the fair and received the award.

“I know all the teachers are proud and pleased with how the students have gone to the competition for years and represented the island with top-notch behavior and great projects,” he said.

Hemenway explained students work on their projects the first semester of school and present them to local judges in December.
“Members of the Molokai community come and look over the projects,” he said. “They interview the kids and ask them questions, and from there those judges pick the top teams to represent the school at the county level.”

MHS Principal Stan Hao thanked everyone who made it possible for the students and teachers to attend the fair.

“We are grateful to the Molokai community for their contributions and support both intellectually and financially to provide these types of opportunities to our Molokai students,” Hao said. “We would not be honored as such if we did not get mentoring and consultation from community supporters.”

Hao also said businesses and sponsors made travel to the event possible.

Svetin said it will cost about $8,000 to send 30 students to the fair next year, so she has already began fundraising. She said she is also working to compile a list of community mentors, and anyone interested should contact her to become involved.

MHS and MMS would like to acknowledge financial support from Dow AgroSciences(Molokai High) and Goodfellow Bros. (Molokai Middle School). Both companies gave substantial donations, which helped with travel expenses to Maui. 
Molokai winners and their projects:

Merit Awards
Sarah Jenkins, Grade 10, Molokai High
“Artificial Nesting Structures For Hawaiian Coot Nesting Success”

Lily Jenkins, Grade 8, Molokai Middle
“Effects of Non-Native Water Lettuce in Canal at Puko`o Pond”

Xrystina Bicoy and Shella Keahi, Grade 11, Molokai High
“Turning Erosion Into Accretion”
Honorable Mention winners
Eric Svetin, Gr 8, Molokai Middle
“Additional Stitch Effect on a Baseball”

Momi Afelin, Gr 9, Molokai High
“It’s Electric”

Edel Mae Alvarez, Gr 10, Remelie Manuel, Gr 11, MayRose Ragonton, Gr 12, Molokai High
“Okra Mucilage in Handmade Paper”

Kea’a Davis, Gr 9, Molokai High
“Relationships Between Personality Type and Learning Type”

Noah Keanini, Gr 7, Molokai Middle
“The Antenna Test: A Test to Find the Best T.V. Antenna”

Specialized Awards:

Monsanto Hawaii Award
Edel Mae Alvarez, Remelie Manuel, May Rose Ranontan, Molokai High

American Psychological Association
Kea`a Davis, Molokai High

Association for Women Geoscientist
Xrystina Bicoy and Shell Keahi, Molokai High

Yale Science & Engineering Association, Inc.
Caulin Angelesa, Paul Parker, Molokai High

Air Force
Sarah Jenkins, Molokai High
Teachers’ award for outstanding efforts to support students in science, engineering and technology:

Jennifer Ainoa and Scott Hemenway from MMS
Lee DeRouin and Malia Lee from MHS



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