City’s top young scientists awarded

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 25, 2005

Looking for a way to clean up an oil spill? Trying to figure out which of your chickens will put down the most eggs?

Ask around Suffolk’s elementary schools. Over the past few months, these and other queries were explored as hundreds of local youngsters worked on their science projects.

For the past two years, Justin Tilton had created the top project at Southwestern Elementary. But he still hadn’t finished among the city’s finest.

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Looking around his family’s farm in Holland, the fourth-grader saw cluckers everywhere. There were New Hampshire Reds and Black, Golden- and Silver-Laced Wyandottes. He decided to see which type of bird would lay the most eggs in two weeks.

Justin gathered two of each chicken and put them in separate pens. Over the next 14 days, he headed out with a camera and notebook to check on the progress.

Meanwhile, over in the Nansemond Parkway community, Kendrick Lee was trying to figure out how to bring home his second city title. He’d gotten three school titles and the city prize in second grade, and now had one more shot to get a second best.

Maybe he could help with the desperate-for-a-solution problem of how to clean up oil spills in the ocean. Kendrick filled a pan with water and dropped a pair of blue food coloring drops in to simulate the ocean.

Then he got some car oil and dumped it in. While Justin was counting up the eggs, Kendrick used a string (to pull the oil into a small area), a spoon, medicine dropper and a ball of cotton to remove the oil.

Eventually, Justin discovered that the Black Wyandottes were the most prolific layers, dropped out 19 eggs in two weeks. Kendrick found that a spoon was the best tool for removing oil.

With their experiments completed, the two headed to their respective fairs. In February, Kendrick’s project was judged tops in Southwestern’s fifth grade (his little brother Everett was first in second grade). Justin won in March.

They and the rest of the city’s top young scientists visited Oakland Elementary on Saturday for the 15th annual citywide fair. Superintendent Milton Liverman welcomed the crowd, and several judges, including local firefighters John Hoy and Bill Rapier, local science teachers Susan Quattlebaum and Julie Byrd and retired naval officer Scott Nielsen, checked out the projects. Then everyone headed to the auditorium

Kendrick watched Everett take the second spot in his grade. Soon, the fourth grade winners were announced. Madison Mignealt of Kilby Shores got third, and Anna Fischer (Nansemond) second. Then Justin finally got the city’s highest award.

&uot;I was hoping I’d get first because I’d never had it before,&uot; he said. &uot;I was happy.&uot;

So was Kendrick; moments later, he got his own title.

&uot;I was really nervous,&uot; he said. &uot;That’s the highest you can get.&uot;

Other winners included: First grade – 1. Ariel Salerno (Kilby) 2. LeAnn Tengowski (Robertson) 3. Sonora Curliss (Oakland).

Second grade – 1. Sydney Billmeyer (Elephant’s Fork) 2. Everett Lee (Nansemond) 3. Amy Rice (Driver)

Third grade – 1. Logan Frizzell (Elephant’s Fork) 2. E.Z. Niles (Robertson) 3. Michaela Twitty (Mack Benn)

Fourth grade-1. Justin Title (Southwestern) 2. Anna Fischer (Nansemond) 3. Madison Mignealt (Kilby)

Fifth grade – 1. Kendrick Lee (Nansemond) 2. Tim O’Brien (BTW) 3. Logan Masters (Kilby)