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Yough fair features science and more

| Saturday, March 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Yough Middle School student Tyler Mesiarik shows his display titled “Mulch Madness.” MARILYN FORBES I FOR THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Members of the girls robotics team were on hand to show the public their robots and what they can do. Cameron Pils and Ashley McGhee work with “Cornelius,” who performed some dances. MARILYN FORBES I FOR THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW

With exhibits that carry titles such as “Are Fingerprints Inherited?” or “Is Black Ink Really Black?” the annual Yough Middle School Science and Health Fair is always an interesting and fun event, one that highlights the hard work and creativity of students while also including information and displays from the community and surrounding areas.

“This is hands-down the biggest one that we have had to date,” Yough Middle School teacher and event coordinator Brian Grindle said of the event that is now in its eighth year. “We have 52 different vendors, and that is up from the 45 we had last year.”

Almost the entire lower level of the school was occupied with science fair exhibits and booths, as hundreds and hundreds of people filtered through the hallways and rooms to see the displays.

“We come every year to see what is going on in the area,” said Ed Reese of West Newton. “Every year there is something different, and we always enjoy this.”

Grindle said that the event was launched as a way to combine the students' interests with the interests of the community.

“We are seeing more STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-based educations, and we also wanted to develop an event that would include the community,” Grindle said. “This is one way for it all to come together.”

The gymnasium and library areas were filled with dozens of science projects that were planned and implemented by students in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

The students start on their projects in the fall and work on them until the big event.

“We help them with some ideas,” Grindle said, adding that for most of the students, an entry into the fair is on a voluntary basis. “There is a lot of independent work that goes into this.”

Each student who had a display stayed close by their exhibits to answer questions or explain their projects.

Student Tyler Mesiarik, 11, did his project on the different kinds of mulch that can be used to see which is the best.

“I tried nine different kinds,” Mesiarik said of his mulch project. “I found out that straw works the best.”

Community and informational booths included several collages, Pennsylvania Fish and Game, several natural resource booths, the YMCA, St Vincent Prevention Program, the Westmoreland County Food bank and many others.

Grindle estimated that about 2,000 attended this years event.

“The evening's event was a huge success due to the dedication and efforts of the people that participated in our science fair,” Grindle said. “ I just want to say thank you to those who took the time to educate and inform our students and community. We are looking forward to next year's event.”

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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