Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Five-Year Pin

This morning, I had the honor of serving as a judge for the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science Region 8 annual meeting held at California University of Pennsylvania. This was my fifth year judging for PJAS. Once again, I had a good time and learned a great deal.

PJAS is a statewide organization of junior and senior high school students designed to stimulate and promote interest in science among its members through the development of research projects and investigations. PJAS Region 8 includes students from schools throughout Washington, Greene and Fayette counties.

There were probably about 100 or so judges at Cal this morning -- multiple judges for each of the groupings by subject area and grade level. I was a judge in the 8th grade botany section. The six student projects in our section looked at the effect different-colored lights, soap, vitamins and electricity had on plant growth. Two of the students from the section will go on to give their presentations at the PJAS state-level meet.

This was the first year in recent memory that the PJAS Region 8 meet had no students from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Burgettstown. OLOL School was closed at the end of the 2006 academic year. My aunt, Kay Snatchko, was OLOL's longtime PJAS sponsor. The always bright and energetic group was certainly missed.

My alma mater, Fort Cherry High School, also went another year with no representation at PJAS -- a missed opportunity for the young people of our communities.

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