A year of hard work deserved a celebration and Huntington High School’s ninth annual science research program symposium provided the setting for one.
The evening drew a large crowd of parents, teachers, administrators and friends of the students who went far beyond the regular classroom experience. The symposium kicked-off with displays of this year’s projects and continued with interesting PowerPoint presentations by seniors completing their studies in the program.
The teenagers dressed professionally and stood near their project presentation boards, ready, willing and able to field whatever questions happened to be fired in their direction. The projects and the displays were impressive, showing a wide variety of research interests and substantial depth of study.
Superintendent James W. Polansky, Principal Brenden Cusack and Assistant Principals Joseph DiTroia and Gamal Smith were all on hand for the festivities, which played out in the two high school cafeterias.
“It’s a wonderful program that has students on every grade level mixing together and helping and mentoring one another,” said science teacher Lori Kenny, who heads the research initiative. About 85 students participated in the program this year.
Seniors stood before a crowd of about 125, describing their progression through the program and giving an overview of their research. They ended their respective presentations by announcing their college plans and career interests as the research program’s teachers sat nearby.
The passion of program participants was evident. Underclassmen have already identified their research interests for the 2017/18 school year and have laid out plans to work alone or as a member of a team.
University of Delaware bound senior Rachel Roday served as the evening’s master of ceremonies. She was the science research program’s lead intern this year and also participated on a research team.
“The science research symposium is a great event where the students from the program get to share their hard work with their parents,” Ms. Roday said. “I was excited to coordinate the event and hope the parents enjoyed all the effort all of the research students put in this year.”
The evening included the presentation of the 2017 Giraffe Awards. Mrs. Kenny spent some time in Africa and fell in love with giraffes, hence the name of the science research program’s annual awards.
This year’s Gold Giraffe Award went to senior Jonathan Shechter. Sebastian Stamatatos (silver), Hadley Clayton (bronze) and Foster Sullivan (chrome) were also honored.
A variety of refreshments and desserts were available to the crowd, which sat attentively throughout the symposium. Students were dressed attractively and the senior presenters were particularly articulate, especially when striving to simplify difficult scientific research topics for the crowd.
In addition to Ms. Roday and Mr. Shechter, seniors in the program include Evan Aguirre, Elizabeth Hughes, Erin Morrisroe, Miranda Nykolyn, Ingrid Oliva, Sam Prinzi, Cloe Stevens, Donnie Stewart, Jacob Strieb and Steve Yeh.
“We’ve had a great year and we appreciate the support of the district and of our parents,” Mrs. Kenny said. “With more than 70 of our research students returning next year we are very excited about the future.”
(Huntington junior Nolan Piccola, an intern in the high school science research program, contributed reporting to this story.)