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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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Science and Technology Projects Shine at STEM Fair

The University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center was packed corner to corner Friday with some of the best elementary school science projects in the district, but organizers said this year’s St. Thomas-St. John STEM Fair actually brought out dozens more displays over the past few days, giving students from every grade level a chance to showcase everything from science demonstrations to money-saving math projects.

STEM stands for Science, Math, Engineering and Technology, and the fair each year brings out the best projects from each district school, which had their own individual fairs about two months ago. What’s special about this year’s district event, organizers said, was the stand-alone technology section, which allowed student to take a hands-on approach to exploring the fields of music, animal abuse and architecture, among other things.

Taking the top spot in the multimedia intermediate category this year was Joseph Sibilly Elementary School sixth-grader Alana Urena, who put together a PowerPoint presentation about different musical genres. Urena said her project was initially based on a school assignment that she expanded for the STEM fair, which explored genres ranging from hip-hop to country and discussed their origins.

"For our original assignment in school, this was just a few slides, but I really like music, so I kept editing and editing, and adding things, until it became this bigger project," Urena said.

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"It was really a lot of fun to do and it was a creative way for me to talk about something that I am interested in."

An interesting project in the technology section was "Leroy’s 3D House," by Ivanna Eudora Kean High School junior Leroy Matthias, who won second place Thursday during the junior high and high school portion of the fair in the category of graphics publishing. Matthias, an aspiring architect, used AutoCAD software to design a life-like model of a house.

"When I came to Kean in ninth grade, I was interested in architecture so I took a basic drafting class that introduced me to AutoCAD," Matthias explained. "This program made it really easy to do things like architectural and engineering plans, planes and all-around design, and I was so interested that I took the year-long advanced class this year and used the program to design this house.”

“The project was meant to give someone who is maybe building or designing their own home an idea of what it would it would look like from beginning to end," Matthias said.

Some of the more informational projects featured during the elementary school section on Friday also focused on more scientific concepts. Sibilly School fourth-grader Eliana Lima, for example, explored the urinary system in a project called, "We Need Kidneys," which won first place in the science demonstrations intermediate category.

"I like doing projects about the body," Lima said Friday. "I chose the kidneys for a lot of reasons, but mostly because we have a lot of diabetes and dialysis cases in the Virgin Islands and, through this project, I learned that someone who needs dialysis – even if they are getting regular treatment – will eventually need a kidney transplant, so it is important for us to learn how to stay and be healthy."

Sibilly School students picked up several awards Friday, but so did the team from Ulla F. Muller Elementary, whose computer teacher, Eman Bazar, worked with them on projects that can be put together with free software found on the internet.

Bazar’s son Naseem, for example, put together a video on bullying using the program Xtranormal, which creates animated, interactive movies.

"Bullying is a problem that we have all over, both locally and internationally, and I really wanted the students to understand some of the things they should do to combat bullying on campus," Eman Bazar said. "They know that they need to be respectful of others and if they see someone being bullied, they should go tell a teacher or an adult."

Naseem Bazar’s video won second place in the primary video presentation category.

Speaking during a break in the event, St. Thomas-St. John district math coordinator Ludence Romney Sr. said judges volunteering this year were impressed by the range of projects, along with the students’ understanding of the scientific concepts behind them.

"The students and parents have been really enthusiastic about working on these projects and that has really been evident during the fair," Romney added. "I know the judges have just been so impressed by what they’ve seen and they have really appreciated the depth of understanding that the students have when talking to them about what they have done."

The top scorers in each category were also presented with an iPad. The STEM Fair is sponsored each year by the Department of Education. The complete list of winners can be found here.

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The University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center was packed corner to corner Friday with some of the best elementary school science projects in the district, but organizers said this year's St. Thomas-St. John STEM Fair actually brought out dozens more displays over the past few days, giving students from every grade level a chance to showcase everything from science demonstrations to money-saving math projects.

STEM stands for Science, Math, Engineering and Technology, and the fair each year brings out the best projects from each district school, which had their own individual fairs about two months ago. What's special about this year's district event, organizers said, was the stand-alone technology section, which allowed student to take a hands-on approach to exploring the fields of music, animal abuse and architecture, among other things.

Taking the top spot in the multimedia intermediate category this year was Joseph Sibilly Elementary School sixth-grader Alana Urena, who put together a PowerPoint presentation about different musical genres. Urena said her project was initially based on a school assignment that she expanded for the STEM fair, which explored genres ranging from hip-hop to country and discussed their origins.

"For our original assignment in school, this was just a few slides, but I really like music, so I kept editing and editing, and adding things, until it became this bigger project," Urena said.

"It was really a lot of fun to do and it was a creative way for me to talk about something that I am interested in."

An interesting project in the technology section was "Leroy's 3D House," by Ivanna Eudora Kean High School junior Leroy Matthias, who won second place Thursday during the junior high and high school portion of the fair in the category of graphics publishing. Matthias, an aspiring architect, used AutoCAD software to design a life-like model of a house.

"When I came to Kean in ninth grade, I was interested in architecture so I took a basic drafting class that introduced me to AutoCAD," Matthias explained. "This program made it really easy to do things like architectural and engineering plans, planes and all-around design, and I was so interested that I took the year-long advanced class this year and used the program to design this house.”

“The project was meant to give someone who is maybe building or designing their own home an idea of what it would it would look like from beginning to end," Matthias said.

Some of the more informational projects featured during the elementary school section on Friday also focused on more scientific concepts. Sibilly School fourth-grader Eliana Lima, for example, explored the urinary system in a project called, "We Need Kidneys," which won first place in the science demonstrations intermediate category.

"I like doing projects about the body," Lima said Friday. "I chose the kidneys for a lot of reasons, but mostly because we have a lot of diabetes and dialysis cases in the Virgin Islands and, through this project, I learned that someone who needs dialysis – even if they are getting regular treatment – will eventually need a kidney transplant, so it is important for us to learn how to stay and be healthy."

Sibilly School students picked up several awards Friday, but so did the team from Ulla F. Muller Elementary, whose computer teacher, Eman Bazar, worked with them on projects that can be put together with free software found on the internet.

Bazar's son Naseem, for example, put together a video on bullying using the program Xtranormal, which creates animated, interactive movies.

"Bullying is a problem that we have all over, both locally and internationally, and I really wanted the students to understand some of the things they should do to combat bullying on campus," Eman Bazar said. "They know that they need to be respectful of others and if they see someone being bullied, they should go tell a teacher or an adult."

Naseem Bazar's video won second place in the primary video presentation category.

Speaking during a break in the event, St. Thomas-St. John district math coordinator Ludence Romney Sr. said judges volunteering this year were impressed by the range of projects, along with the students' understanding of the scientific concepts behind them.

"The students and parents have been really enthusiastic about working on these projects and that has really been evident during the fair," Romney added. "I know the judges have just been so impressed by what they've seen and they have really appreciated the depth of understanding that the students have when talking to them about what they have done."

The top scorers in each category were also presented with an iPad. The STEM Fair is sponsored each year by the Department of Education. The complete list of winners can be found here.