Vineland Public Schools students had another strong showing at the annual Cumberland County Science Fair, held on February 28 at Cumberland County College.
Categories ranged from Botany and Chemistry to Medicine and Health and Engineering. Students conducted the research in their classrooms and then presented their findings through interviews at the college. First place winners were Kyle McCain for Behavioral and Social Science, Alexis Nappa for Botany, Urvi Patel for Chemistry, Amanda Cao for Engineering, Jose Gabriel Castro for Environmental Sciences, Elizabeth Alarcon Contreras for Medicine and Health. Aaliyah Ayala and Jasleen Jaswal also won second place overall. Amanda Cao received Third Place Honors Overall with her project called “Recharge or Be Charged: Powering Flashlights with Piezoelectricity.
Twelve bilingual students also participated in the fair, coming home with four awards. Second place winner was Kevin Sanchez Meze for Engineering. Third place winners were Keralis Rivera for Physics, Zeidy Perez for Engineering, and Educardo Espinal in Chemistry. All students received a participation certificate and the opportunity to earn a scholarship from Cumberland Community College if they maintain good grades, a good attendance record, and stay disciplined. If they attain this scholarship, Cumberland Community College has also offered the students the chance to continue their studies at Rowan University after completing 2 years at Cumberland.
Second place winner Kevin Sanchez is from the Dominican Republic and has only been in the United States for seven months. Bilingual science teacher Luzmila Badillo explained that, while he was reluctant at first, it was worth the effort.
“At first, he was reluctant to participate in the science fair and I had a difficult time trying to convince him to join,” Badillo said. “He confided in me that he was afraid to speak in public due to his limited English proficiency. I reassured him that the science fair team would provide translators and that his poster would be completely in English, but Kevin still remained somewhat nervous. Nonetheless, he decided to participate and was able to win the second place in the Engineering category. Despite all the linguistic barriers that students face, I am amazed that they are able to overcome them with the help of bilingual teachers and the support of the administration.”
The students were also honored at the March 6 Board of Education Meeting. Students who placed will now attend the Delaware Valley Science Fair in April.
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