Seven Molokai Middle School students received awards at the 53rd Maui Schools’ Science and Engineering Fair held on Jan. 26 at the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center.
As reported earlier, Moriah Jenkins, a senior at Molokai High School, was the top high school winner. She will also represent Maui County at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May in Pittsburgh, Penn.
While several local high school students had a successful showing, the middle school cannot be overlooked. Out of 11 middle school projects presented by 15 students, six of those projects were award winners. This is the most awards ever for Molokai Middle School at the Maui County science fair.
Several of the middle school projects involved the study of humans and/or vertebrate animals.
“The students had to fill out a lot of additional paperwork and work extra hard to ensure the projects would be accepted at the Maui County fair,” wrote middle school science teacher Jennifer Ainoa. “Our students are really choosing to challenge themselves and go the extra mile with such projects.”
For example, seventh-grader Kanani Ah Van won the award for the most outstanding project in the behavioral/social sciences. This means she stood out even among high school seniors from all over Maui County.
“This is especially significant because it was Kanani’s first time to ever attempt doing a science fair project,” Ainoa wrote.
According to Ainoa, “the most wonderful thing about this year’s science fair experience, from my point of view, was hearing the students already discussing what they will do next year. Our Molokai students have tasted success and they are hungry for more. Molokai will earn the reputation as that special, little island that turns out the world’s leading scientists!”
Eighth-grader Geisha Nunez had this advice for incoming seventh graders about science fair, “Just do it!” She has every right to say this as she spent hour upon hour after school doing her own winning project. She even had teachers learning to speak the Choctaw language as part of her project.
Another eighth grader, Momi Afelin, has won at the science fair for two years in a row. She had this advice, “Always strive for your best and only compete against yourself.”
Eighth-grader Oceana Madani, who explored how to recycle gray water to reduce water usage, said being called on stage at Maui to win an award made her feel “excited” and “like a celebrity.”
A total of seven intermediate schools participated in the fair: Iao, Lahaina, Lokelani, Maui Waena, Molokai Middle, Kualapu’u Charter (a Molokai elementary school competing in the intermediate category), Doris Todd and home-schooled students.
Sponsors for the fair were: A&B Foundation, State of Hawaii Department of Education, Hawaii Academy of Science, Maui Electric, Monsanto Hawaii, Maui Economic Development Board, Women in Technology, and Maui County Parks and Recreation.