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Norwin sixth-grader makes a splash in regional science fair

| Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

A Norwin sixth-grader with an interest in water conservation recently won a top award at a regional science fair.

Cecilia “Ceci” Fidler, 11, took second place in the physical science junior division in the competition, which drew nearly 1,100 students from more than 100 school districts in Western Pennsylvania and Maryland.

For her entry, Ceci measured the volume and temperature of water from a residential spigot to determine the efficiency of implementing a water pump/circulating system.

The project looked at water usage for a three-person household, a six-person household and an entire neighborhood over a five- to 20-year period.

Her tests indicated that the use of a pump would result in enough savings over 30 years to cover the installation cost of the system and that a neighborhood of 200 residents using pumps would conserve more than a million gallons of water over 200 years.

Paula Giran, Ceci's teacher at Hillcrest Intermediate School, said she “was completely surprised and ecstatic” when she learned Ceci had placed in the Carnegie Science Center's 75th anniversary Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair.

“I had never heard of the competition until this year, so I didn't really know what I could do to help the students who were interested in participating or what the competition would be like,” Giran said. “I told the kids that since it was my first year and theirs, we should do it as a test run to get experience for future competitions.”

About 140 children initially expressed interest, but the number dwindled to the six who submitted entries, Giran said.

“The nice thing is, the other students were not only super excited for Ceci, they all said they want to compete next year again.”

Ceci second-place finish makes her eligible to attend the Broadcom Master's Middle School Program in Washington, D.C., in October. She also earned a sponsor award from the Dominion Foundation and an affiliate award from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps Naval Research.

Ceci said participating in the competition was a great experience.

“I appreciated the opportunity,” she said. “I learned a lot about the experimentation process, including scientifically reporting data and explaining my results to others. I look forward to the Broadcom event next fall.”

Ceci is the daughter of Jay and Lisa Fidler of North Huntingdon.

The other participants from Hillcrest were Dari Ketler, Alyssa Wagner, Chris Heffelfinger, Tessa Czajkowski and Gwen Reichert.

Norwin High School students who participated in the senior competition were Bria Cashdollar, Jacqueline Castellii, Cayla Imbarlina, Brittany Jones, Jenna Mandella and Breanna Merritt.

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or at

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