Sharing Their Exceptional Materials

West Geauga Students Make Community Proud at STEM Competition


Some of the West G STEM team at the Middle School

Every year the West Geauga school district partners with the Chesterland Kiwanis to, according to their web site, “…help elementary, middle school and high school students develop an appreciation for STEM projects.” For those who are unfamiliar with S.T.E.M., it stands for science-technology-engineering and math. Through the Kiwanis program there are many different opportunities to participate in activities and events related to STEM. Here at the high school, three different activities were offered this past year: the Individual Project competition, the math competition, and the Junk Box Wars competition.

In the Individual Projects competition, students presented their individual research on a topic of their choice, like a science fair project. They picked a subject of interest, developed a hypothesis, performed experiments, and finally drew a conclusion which stated if their experiments were or were not successful in proving the hypothesis. Senior Rich Kirk won 1st place in this competition with his project on developing AI (artificial intelligence) to analyze & predict crop yields using Google images/maps. Senior Antonio Linek was awarded 2nd place for his project on vacuum propulsion. Finally, senior Eileen Faulk finished in 3rd place with her project on adjusting enantiomers (a pair of molecules that are mirror images of each other) to polarize light. All very impressive ! The school, their families and friends are very proud.

In the math competition, students had to complete a 50 question multiple choice test, “…similar to college entrance exam questions,” said West Geauga High School science department chair, Mrs. Kristen Gregory. Junior Robert Sunderhaft (not a West G student) won first place, but West G. sophomore Luke Musser was awarded 2nd place and junior Kevin Wenger finished in 3rd place.

In the Junk Box Wars competition Mrs. Gregory, said, “Teams were challenged to build a device that would rotate a weight (hex nut) the most times around a minimum six inch radius in a clockwise direction. The device had to be powered by a mousetrap and work on its own once triggered.” Kiwanis members worked with students in this event to help them use the supplied tools and follow the safety procedures. The winning team was that of Luigi Marino and Nick Posante, followed by Neil Whitmore and Michael Pattison in 2nd place, and Rich Kirk, Mo Aidja, and Evan Baker in third place. This was not an easy task and the students and staff here at the high school are very proud of their accomplishments.

When asked what the goal of the STEM Fair was, Kiwanis president-elect, Mr. Jeff Kershaw, said, “The goal of STEM Fair is to help students use some of what they are learning in the classroom to investigate, compete and hopefully have some fun in the areas of science technology, engineering and mathematics. We are proud to say that West Geauga Schools has always been our best partner in this service and we look forward to that partnership moving forward.”

We hope the STEM Fair will be around for many more years to allow students to utilize the knowledge they learned in their classes to make something great: something that the entire West G. school district can look at and say, “Wow!”