A year of hard work culminated in a celebration at Huntington High School’s 11th annual science research program symposium.
The evening drew a large crowd of parents, teachers, administrators and friends of the students who went well beyond the regular classroom experience. The symposium kicked-off with displays of this year’s projects and continued with PowerPoint presentations by seniors culminating their studies in the program.
The teenagers stood near their project presentation boards, ready, willing and able to field questions that were sent their way. The projects and the displays were quite impressive, showing a wide variety of research interests and noticeable depth of study.
Superintendent James W. Polansky, Principal Brenden Cusack and Assistant Principals Dr. Lisette Lors and Gamal Smith and Director of STEM Jill N. Johanson were all on hand for the festivities, which played out in the two high school cafeterias.
Fifth grade SEARCH program participants were also in attendance with their projects. The youngsters presented impressive work on their own respective display boards and in research papers were available to the crowd.
This year’s high school science research program enrolled about 100 students. Teachers Lori Kenny, Dame Forbes, Matthew Liguori and Deborah Beck taught classes and were on hand for the festivities.
“This was a year like no other,” Mrs. Kenny said. “We saw a team of new incoming students who brought great energy and a passion for research with them. With peer mentoring and the addition of some new exciting team competitions the program saw great achievements by all. This all comes with a heavy heart saying goodbye to the programs seniors who have had a wonderful impact on the program. The symposium is always a wonderful way to celebrate all of the students in the program. We are all excited to see the new changes coming to the program for next year as well.”
The group of graduating seniors includes Sam Roberts, Hadley Clayton, Jack Langton, Mathew Hearl, Candido Martinez, Arashdeep Singh, Ryan Hoffmann, Michael McCooey, Terrel Cox, Mackenzie Joseph, Natalie McCann, Cornelius O’Rourke, Evelyn Hernandez, Henry Cartwright, Kolby Rappel, Sara Frawley, Nathaniel Gamboa and Annabella Matheus.
“I owe a lot of my high school development to the science research program,” Mr. Gamboa said. “The teachers have taught me not only how to conduct an experiment and present it with the utmost confidence, but also showed me that my limits are much further than what I thought them to be. The program has brought me from a shy freshman who would barely present to peers to a much more mature senior who has networked with professors from all over the country; from the University of Maryland to UC Berkeley.”
The 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. Many of the underclassmen have already identified their research interests for the 2019/20 school year and have laid out plans to work alone or as a member of a team.
The evening included the presentation of coveted awards to Luke Rinaldi, Caelan Clayton, Emily Roberts, Shannon Kehoe, Erin Ye, Mia Brown and Valerie Rogel.
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.