Melissa Berry's science-fair project exposed an environmental hazard in her school district--but that wasn't enough to win her first prize.
The 12-year-old, who attends Pioneer Park Elementary School in Cheyenne, Wyo., took home second place last month for a project that revealed lead contamination in the drinking water at her school and three others in the Laramie County district.
The 6th grader said she was surprised to find that four of her water samples from 10 schools exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's limit of 15 parts of lead per billion parts of water--including a drinking fountain in her classroom that had a whopping 44.3 parts per billion of lead.
Melissa's project prompted school and city officials to conduct their own contamination tests, which found that two out of five water fountains at the 475-student Pioneer Park needed to be replaced, Principal Frank Lamirand said. The other schools were tested and found the lead levels to be acceptable.
But her discovery of lead in the school water was insufficient to beat out a fellow student's project on the use of waste products.
Thousands of 5th graders in Wayne County, Mich., are getting ready to blast off into outer space. Virtual outer space, that is.
Thanks to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, 2,500 5th graders will be able to attend space camp this year. Mike Wing, the chief executive officer of the center in Huntsville, Ala., called Wayne County schools Superintendent Mike Flanagan and offered $2.5 million in scholarships so that more students would be able to afford space camp.
For the past four years, county school officials have worked with the automotive-parts supplier Loctite Corp., based in Troy, Mich., to send about 50 students to the Space and Rocket Center camps each year.
The new partnership will enable thousands of Wayne County students to join those that Loctite sponsors.
Mr. Flanagan chose three of his county's school districts to participate in the weeklong camp.
Some students will attend space camp in Mountainview, Calif., and others will go to Titusville, Fla.
The first crew of students left for the California facility this month. Groups of students will continue to go each week until mid-June.
--Adrienne D. Coles & Karen L. Abercrombie
Vol. 18, Issue 28, Page 3