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The Wasco Union Elementary School District held its 41st annual Science Fair on Saturday, showcasing the talent of its student body. A total of 267 projects were displayed, representing the efforts of 377 students. The event demonstrated the district's commitment to fostering a love for science and learning while providing a platform for young minds to explore, innovate and share their discoveries with the community.

Kory Mildenberger, a Palm Avenue Middle School science teacher, spearheaded the fair. "It was amazing. All the students showed a continuous commitment to the community for science."

He added that the students took away benefits from their participation. "They developed their public speaking, critical thinking and analytical skills. It inspired their creativity, not only visual creativity, but many of our students were creative with how they collected their data."

"For our middle school kids, it prepared them for high school because they can hone their scientific thinking skills and back up a hypothesis with data. It boosts their communication skills, both written and oral, as well as their research skills. It supports mathematical thinking and their ability to tackle complex problems."

Kenelee Henderson came to support her great-nephews. "I'm a retired science teacher, and I love that they're interested in science, are curious and want to participate. I thought it was great that they learned and had fun."

She believes the district is doing a good job. "It's a sign that the schools are encouraging the students interested in science, and I think having this local science fair is fantastic."

It was an opportunity for the students to shine when they presented their science projects. Leslie Calderon said her "The Effect of Different Temperatures on Evaporation Rates" project was a chance to use her imagination.

"I used cotton balls to form clouds and yellow construction paper to make the sun for my display board. I used blue glitter and blue gems to form raindrops, which my mom gave me the idea. It was nice to work with her."

Sandra Bailey is the assistant principal for Palm Avenue Middle School. She commented, "It's great seeing all of the kids come. They're very proud of what they've done. It takes a lot of courage, especially for the little ones, to come and present, and Mr. Mildenberger does a wonderful job setting it all up for the whole WUESD K-8th grade."

There were awards for the best projects, and first-grader Leah Valencia won in her division. Her mother, Carina Valencia, said, "I feel thrilled. It's her first time in the science fair, and she put a lot of effort into it and, more than anything, a lot of love."

Third grader Antonio Escudero-Caballero was a sweepstakes winner who placed in the third to fifth-grade level category. His aunt, Maria Caballero, was excited and said, "I'm proud of him. He worked really hard. He wants to be an astronaut, so he's learning all about rockets, and his project dealt with how Newton's second law of motion relates to rocket performance.

"This science fair reinforces that interest and love of knowing the possibilities that are out there for students like him in careers in science. It was a great learning experience for him, and he's already excited about next year."


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