Top honor at Elkhart city science fair goes to Madelin Lapp

The organizer was pleased with the turnout at this year's event. Judges had to choose from 216 science projects.

Posted on Feb. 22, 2014 at 6:43 p.m.

ELKHART — While some parents struggle and fret with science fairs more than their children, Katrina Lundy seems to enjoy the events.

Two of her sons, Clayton and Cohen, have been enthusiastic about competing, according to their mother.

"I like it," Katrina Lundy said. "“They come to me and want to do it.” 

The two students were among 216 participants who showed off their scientific interests at the 30th annual Elkhart City Science Fair at Memorial High School on Saturday.

This year, Cohen, 7, was a silver medallion winner for his presentation in biochemistry that looked at whether the color of an animal helps it survive in the wild.

Clayton, 11, won a first-place ribbon for the third year in a row. This year, his project focused on posture and gaming. The best approach, he learned, was standing.

Last year Clayton fared well, but was disqualified after he subdivided a worm in an effort to see which parts would regenerate and survive.

Madelin Lapp, a seventh-grade student at Pierre Moran Middle School, survived and thrived at Saturday's competition. Her behavioral and social sciences project looked at whether color makes words easier or harder to read. She also won top award for grades 6 through 8. 

Another top winner was Mariella Harrison in the K-2 category. Her microbiology project delved into the issue of “decay.”

The winner for grades 3 to 5 was Michael Gaff for his physics project titled “Up, Up and Away.”

Danae Wirth, who coordinated the event, said she was pleased with the turnout.

“It’s excellent. Last year, we had 229 and the year before, we had 114, so it’s very nice. They’ve been increasing,” Wirth said.

Robert Haworth, superintendent of Elkhart Community Schools, applauded the efforts of students and their willingness to dig into specific topics and put their skills on display.

“I believe depth of study is where the true joy of learning is found,” Haworth told students.

Students competed in 11 categories ranging from zoology to botany to microbiology.

The Northern Indiana Regional Science and Engineering fair will be March 22 at the University of Notre Dame.

Brian Tompkins, another Elkhart science fair organizer, said he believed the regional competition would reserve up to 75 spots for Elkhart winners and predicted about 50 would participate.



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