Left, four of the six Skagway winners, Emily Herbig, Paige Hahn, Amanda Jensen, and Samantha Welch, pose with their certificates. Right, Kaitlyn Surdyk and Jessie Ellis introduce their exhibit.

Skagway students excel at Alaska Science and Engineering Fair

Nine Skagway students from grades 7-11 took six projects to Anchorage on April 18- 20 to compete in the State Science and Engineering Fair. This was the first time Skagway has been represented at this level of science competition and the students did a wonderful job representing our town. The nine students’ projects were selected as having potential at the state level by judges during the local Skagway Science Fair mid-March. It was then left to the students to decide if they wanted to try competing at the next level and to the school to figure out travel arrangements.
The students who took the challenge and endured the drive to Anchorage were: Riley Westfall, K.C. Mayo, Kaitlyn Surdyk, Jesse Ellis, Amanda Jensen, Emily Herbig, Paige Hahn, Samantha Welch and Shelby Surdyk. The competition took place at the newest school in the state, Begich Middle School, and there were projects from all over the state. Small villages and large cities were represented by their top students, but Skagway was the only Southeast town represented. The students were judged by a wide variety of judges and most were invited to the awards ceremony.
All of the Skagway young scientists received gold ribbons (1st places) in the general judging and several of the projects received special awards and took first place in several categories:
• The team of Paige Hahn, Emily Herbig and Amanda Jensen received 1st place from IEEE (Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers), 1st place from the Alaska Science Consortium, and 2nd place from the National Weather Service/American Meteorological Society.
• Riley Westfall was named the overall Medicine and Health Sciences category state winner for the middle school level and received an opportunity to compete at the national level. He also was awarded 2nd place for his abstract from the Society for Technical Communication.
• Shelby Surdyk was awarded 1st place in the high school category for her display by the Society for Technical Communication.
• Samantha Welch received 2nd place from IEEE. Several awards are being given later so Skagway my have more awards yet to come.
These students did amazingly well considering this was their first attempt at completing a scientific research project. Skagway has a great number of bright and motivated students and should be proud of them. This could not have happened without the support of the school board and administration along with parents.
A special thanks needs to be given to the local judges who donated their time. These included: Andrew Cremata, Alicia Wendlandt, Aaron Thomas, Dave Schirokaur, Sara Red-Laird, Joanne Korsmo, Chris Ellis, Alan Sorum, Tara Mallory, Dottie DeMark, Denise Caposey, Tanner Hanson, and Rick Hess. However the biggest thanks and congratulations goes to the science students who took this project seriously. Who knows what can be accomplished next year? – RUTHIE KNIGHT, teacher