Judging science fair big thrill

By Penny Bailey: Clovis Municipal Schools

What a thrill. I was invited to be a judge for the Mesa Elementary School Science Fair.

Now, you might not think that would be a thrill, but for me it was. You see, science was not my forte’ when I was in school.

As a matter of fact, each year when they announced the date of our science fair, I would almost go into a panic. I never knew what to do, wasn’t too sure about my hypotheses, and I rarely had a successful experiment.

So, I was a little apprehensive when asked to be a judge at a science fair.

Visions of the show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” came to mind.

Rarely have I watched that show when the adult won. So, I could see me standing in front of 6th grade scientists and not understanding anything they said.

Fortunately for me, I discovered my science teachers were able to teach me more than I thought, because I did understand the Biochemistry and Earth Science experiments assigned for me to judge.

Of course, the students impressed all the judges with their creative experiments, quizzical minds, and impressive knowledge. I learned in detail how to make windmills efficient; the difference between pasteurized and homogenized milk; and I saw experiments that compared various sunscreens, sodas, bubble gum, and more.

How much fun it was.

But the biggest thrill for me was getting to meet some of Clovis’ finest young scientists and the staff at Mesa.

It was immediately obvious teachers have done an outstanding job of educating their students. And, the staff at Mesa was so well organized that we were able to review the experiments, interview the students, score the various categories, and make our decisions all before lunch.

However, I must confess, there was one more thrill for me. My husband majored in Chemistry and now he is a medical doctor.

I am a Liberal Arts major and over the years, he has occasionally enjoyed teasing me about my lack of understanding science. But, when I told him I was a judge for Biochemistry at a science fair, he was shocked and I was thrilled to see the surprise on his face.

Thanks Mesa for the opportunity and congratulations to all our young scientists … you did a great job.