Eighth grader Emma Borhi remembers when her academic life used to revolve around regular class assignments and tests.
That was before the Trafalgar middle school student got hooked on science fair competitions.
“I basically have no social life in the months leading up to science fair,” Borhi jokes.
Her classmate Miranda Sherell agrees. Both students have represented the West Kootenay in the Canada-Wide Science Fair two years in a row.
This year they were also joined be a third Trafalgar student, Micah May.
“The level of science this year was so amazing that we had to send a third student to the Canada-Wide competition,” says Trafalgar teacher Ann McDonnell, co-chair of the West Kootenay Science Fair.
The students travelled to PEI with McDonnell for the weeklong competition, from May 12 to 19, where they were among 500 delegates presenting their projects to judges and members the public.
“It’s great being able to share your findings with the judges and people in the science community who actually understand what you’re talking about,” said Sherell who came home with a bronze medal in the junior division, $300 in prize money and a $1,000 scholarship for her project on synethesia (the experience of involuntarily sensory overlap, such as associating a number with a certain colour).
McDonnell notes that it’s a huge achievement for a Trafalgar student to medal, given they were competing against students with access to major universities and research mentors.
“They put a huge amount of work into their projects,” McDonnell says, “Their research is well above a Grade 8 level.”
Borhi focused her project on hypermobility, the ability to stretch joints beyond the normal range of motion, while May studied acidity levels of snow around the West Kootenay.
All three students say they plan to pursue careers in science and see science fair as a step towards that goal.
“It’s good life experience doing presentations for so many people,” May says.
Science Fair is open to students up to Grade 12, and all three students say they hope to compete again.
Borhi says, “I look forward to it all year.”