OLEAN — The scientific experiments were diverse — from testing music’s impact on one’s memory and concentration to the best water to drink — during Southern Tier Catholic School and Archbishop Walsh Academy’s annual Science Fair.
Approximately 90 students in grades five through 12 participated in the fair, which was open to the public.
Science teacher Lois Housler said students created their own experiments, but had to follow a set of instructions to qualify for the event. The fair also counts as part of the students’ grades.
“Everyone who places or receives honorable mention will go to Alfred State on March 6 for their regional science fair,” Housler said. “And the high schoolers will also get to go to St. Bonaventure’s regional science fair” on March 26.
Housler noted that one Walsh student won the competition at St. Bonaventure in the past, and went on to an international science fair where he received honorable mention.
Thomas Manko, president and principal of Walsh and STCS, said that while the students were required to participate in the science fair, they have been looking forward to it.
“The kids have been excited for the last month and a half,” Manko said, noting the students began working on their experiments at the beginning of the school year.
“Today was the epitome of excitement,” Manko said moments before the winners of the event were announced.
He said the entries were judged by local professionals in the fields of science and engineering, including Miles Marvin, Eric Rauert and Shelia Yalley from SolEpoxy; Dr. Tressa Jordan from the Olean Medical Group; and Thomas Burdsall, Liselle Esposito and Richard Esposito from the Walsh/STCS community. Students were asked to present their projects to the judges prior to the science fair.
Students who waited by their displays in the gymnasium of the school included Maria Rickert, an eighth-grader from Allegany. Her project focused on music and if it affects the listener’s memory or concentration.
“Basically, I had participants play a memory game without music and then I had four different genres of music (for them to listen to) — they’re the main genres of all music basically,” she explained. “I had them play the game one time with each (genre)” and twice without music.
Maria said she thought the participants would do best with classical and jazz, but was wrong with her study group.
“Basically, for most people, it was rock and pop that did the best,” she said regarding the participants’ concentration with the memory game.
At another display, Kingston Snyder, a fifth-grader from Salamanca, said he came up with his singing water glasses experiment, as it has been an activity he enjoys doing at home.
He demonstrated how several water glasses filled with varying amounts of water create different sounds at different pitches.
“He does it at home all the time on his own so for the science project he thought he’d do more” experimentation with the glasses, added Kingston’s mother, Joleen Price.
Xavier Laverty, an 11th-grader at Walsh, experimented with the quality of water found in the local taps to bottled water, including the relatively pricey Fiji brand.
“I tested the differences in the chemical composition and concentrations of impurity in tap water and bottled water,” Xavier said. “My hypothesis was that I thought Fiji would have the least impurities and most neutral pH,” which he said proved to be the case.
On a humorous note, Xavier said that because of his recent testing of water, he is telling others they may now call him “Professor Drip.”
Administrators at the campus listed the names of the winners at the high school and middle school levels.
High School Science
1st place, Marcus Esposito 12th grade; 2nd place, Catherine Przybyla, 10th grade; 3rd place, Everett Swenson 10th grade; 4th place, Alexandria Hays, 10th grade; and 5th place, Xavier Laverty, 11th grade. Honorable Mention — Samantha Soyke, 9th grade.
High School Engineering and Design
1st place, Noella Policastro, 10th grade; and 2nd place, Dominic Esposito.
Middle School Science
1st place, Jon Pryzybla, 8th grade; 2nd place, Emerson Ortego, 6th grade; 3rd place, John Neeson, 5th grade; and 4th place, Rose Scordo, 8th grade.
Middle School Engineering and Design
1st place, Alexander Dove, 6th grade; 2nd place, Anna Sophia Widger, 8th grade; 3rd place Grace Kwagalakwe, 6th grade and 4th place, Lilli Khettry, 8th grade.