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Fauquier student wins science fair logo contest

Monday, Jan. 6 | By Mark Grandstaff | Google+
Jiratkul Wangsiripaisarn, a student at Providence Christian Academy in Vint Hill, won the logo contest for the The Fauquier County Regional Science & Engineering Fair. Jiratkul is a senior and an exchange student from Thailand. Her design, a detailed hand lifting a gear with each quarter representing a different field of science, was posted as Option F in the online contest survey. Jiratkul will win $100, and her logo will be used for the new public-private science fair.

The second most popular logo design was Option A (with an airplane taking off above a banner and other icons of science), submitted by Georgia Jones, a seventh grader at Auburn Middle School. The next favorite was Option E (an Erlenmeyer flask wearing safety goggles and filled with elements from various science fields) and was the brainchild of Cassandra Dehn, a seventh grader at Cedar Lee Middle School.

Rounding out the logos were designs submitted by Willem Grabner, an eighth grader at Marshall Middle School (Option B, featuring an Erlenmeyer Flask flanked by an atomic symbol); Alex Wright, an eighth grader at Warrenton Middle School, whose Option D added a lighthearted touch with the proverbial “mad” scientist), and Andrew Caver, an eighth grader at Taylor Middle School, whose Option C displayed gears around a microscope.

The five finalists and the winner will each receive a $ 25 gift certificate, donated by G. Whillikers Toys and Books owner Elna McMann. Although the selection committee operated without knowledge of the entrants’ information, the finalists happen to hail from each of the county’s five public middle schools. The finalists will also receive their prizes at the January School Board meeting.

The six logos were posted on the science fair website on Dec. 16. By New Year’s Day, almost 750 votes had been logged. The selection committee wanted to consider public input, but maintain the ability to make an independent choice. As it turned out, Logo F garnered the most votes and the judges’ approval.

Altogether, 85 creative and catchy logo designs were submitted by hopeful students throughout the county at all levels: elementary, middle, and high school. The contest was open to public, private, and homeschooled students.

The committee consisted of Warrenton Middle School educators: Art teacher Marisa Pappas; physical science teacher and Chairman of the Scientific Review Committee for the FCRegionalSEF, Dr. Robert Fryman; Instructional Technology Resource Teacher Tina Ference, and substitute teacher Danielle Ramsak. Mrs. Pappas, a veteran in judging art pieces, guided the selection process by spreading out the logos in iterative cycles, with no identifying information visible. Once the six finalists were chosen, Ms. Ference designed the survey form for gathering public input.

In addition to input from the committee and the public, County Coordinator Vineeta Ribeiro sought the advice of the main benefactors of the FCRegionalSEF. While some were divided about their favorites, it was generally agreed that the county’s students had submitted stellar work.

Dom Nguyen, Creative Director of Learning Tree International, Inc., the multinational firm that focuses on technology training and has partnered with FCPS to present the fair, was impressed by the students’ work. “…The contestants are very creative and their illustration skills are phenomenal,” he said. Mr. Nguyen is tasked with taking the winning logo and developing the one that will ultimately be used, based on the student’s design.

The prizes will be awarded at the School Board Meeting on Monday, January 13 at 7 p.m. in the Falcon Room at Fauquier High School. “I wish we could have had three or four logos for our science fair,” Ribeiro said. “They were so difficult to choose from.”

The science fair, which will hand out over $4,000 in prizes, will take place on Saturday, March 22, 2014, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Stoneridge Events Center, which has donated the use of its facilities. It will be open to students from grades 6-12 in all modes of education in the county. Students at the high school level who win at the regional fair will go on to represent Fauquier County one week later at the Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair, held at Virginia Military Institute March 28-29. In addition, FCRegionalSEF will send its first place winner at the high school level on a weeklong, all expenses paid trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, CA in mid-May. For more information, visit http://www.FauquierScienceFair.com.

The fair is a partnership of Fauquier County Public Schools with industry (Learning Tree International, Inc.) and its charitable foundation (Sharp Science Students Foundation), community members (Linda and John Suter), private schools, other school systems (Prince William County Public Schools), and many local business supporters (Piedmont Press and Graphics, Discovery Publications, Stoneridge Events Center, Covert Café, Grioli’s Italian Bistro and Pizzeria, and G. Whillikers Toys and Books.)

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