(Riverton, WY) – The 2022 West Central Regional Science Fair was held at Central Wyoming College (CWC) in Riverton on January 14th, and students from Pathfinder High School wowed the judges enough to take home multiple 1st Place recognitions in the Senior Division.
Although unconfirmed, Pathfinder Principal Ceatriss Wall stated that she was pretty sure this is the first time Pathfinder students have placed in the science fair, or possibly even competed.
In the Robotics and Intelligent Machines / Embedded Systems / Systems Software category, 1st place went to Sean Crockett and Lilyana Goraczkowski for their project on Agricultural Application of Automated Environmental Data Collection.
In the Earth and Environmental Sciences / Environmental Engineering category, 1st place went to Caleb Brown and Preston Burton for their Aquaponics project.
And Pathfinder absolutely dominated the Plant Sciences category, taking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places.
Jarren Hurtado and Miya Woody took 1st place for their project on The Study of Different Lights on Radish Growth.
Parker Findley and Claire LeBeau took 2nd for project on Temperature Affects on Radish Growth.
3rd place went to Hadli Gimple and McKenzie Keller for their project on Radish Plant Growth in a Greenhouse.
County 10 chatted with the students about their accomplishments, and those who placed in the fair were a healthy mix of kiddos who have always been interested in science, and those who have recently taken a liking to it.
“Science has always been one of my favorite topics in school, because it doesn’t put me to sleep,” joked 9th grader Parker Findley.
“It was a very new thing, I wasn’t sure about it at first,” sophomore Lilyana Goraczkowski commented, “and now I really like it.”
A lot of the students’ newfound interest in science has been due to the Integrated Math and Science classes now taught at Pathfinder, which started over the summer.
According to teacher Sam Hartpence, usually a math teacher, the class was created out of necessity when the school was trying to find a new science teacher after the last one retired.
Hartpence has a background in engineering, and is licensed to teach both math and science, so the idea was brought up to integrate the two classes once another math teacher was hired.
The class uses project based curriculum to help students learn skills from both subjects, and has been pretty popular with students, with student Miya Woody commenting at the January 18th School Board meeting that now she can answer the math question “When are we ever going to use this?”
“The “A-ha!” moments are very enthusiastic,” Hartpence commented in regards to the students seeing how the math and science work together on these projects, and later stressed how amazing it is to see students take to such independent work.
Check out some of the photos of the students and all their hard work below.
Way to go Panthers!