The TLC/LCP Science Department, headed by Annette Kiureghian and Steve Miller, began the science fair in 2000 as an experiment with a very simple hypothesis: elementary school students are capable of presenting a science fair project for judging and public viewing. With 100 students in their control group, the conclusion reached at the end of that first fair experiment was a resounding, “Yes!” Over the years, it has grown into one of the most highly anticipated events on the school calendar.
“It is important to motivate students with science,” said TLC head science teacher, Annette Kiureghian. “They can explore, research, and learn new concepts. Students can also share their projects and ideas with their teachers, parents, friends and classmates.”
Mrs. Kiureghian went on to say that the judges were very impressed with the high level of work being done by all the students.
“It is important for younger students to experience what it’s like to be a ‘mini-expert’ on particular topic,” said Norman Baker, head science teacher for the fifth and sixth grades. “I was so impressed with how my students presented their work to the public. I’ve had high school and college-level students not do as well. ”
The top seventh-grade projects will be considered for admission into the Los Angeles County Science Fair, the annual science and engineering fair for public and private middle and high school students being held at the Shrine Expo Hall on March 12th and 13th.
Parent volunteers are key to the success of an event of this magnitude. Scores of parents are required to help set up and break down the tables, decorate the gymnasium, provide lunch and refreshments for the judges, and of course, to be the judges themselves.
“We are so fortunate to have so many generous and gifted parents from the fields of medicine, dentistry, pharmacology, engineering, and science to serve as judges,” said Terry Villanueva, Director of The Learning Castle and La Cañada Preparatory. “They are very busy people who give up most of their day to be here for this event.”
Judges for this year’s fair were Dr. Luciana Alves, Dr. Craig Baker, Dr. Regina Baker, Dr. Arpa Baroni, Dr. Nathalie Blume, Dr. Diane Costandi, Dr. Jamal Dawood, Dr. Tina Ghotanian, Dr. Sara Hakopian, Dr. Tina Harutunians, Mr. Sarkis Jarakian, Ms. Susanna Jarakian, Ms. Jane Preethi Jayaraj, Dr. Prash Jayaraj, Dr. Michael Keller, Dr. Sarkis Kiramijyan, Dr. Michael Korkin, Mr. Vahe Kuzoyan, Ms. Hema Maheshwari, Dr. Tigran Ovsepyan, Dr. Arman Petrosyan, Dr. Marianna Petrosyan, Dr. Flavia Pichiorri, Mr. Vicken Touzjian and Dr. Saima Zubair.
On February 3rd, a special awards assembly was held to recognize the students with the top-three projects in each grade along with honorable mentions and awards for merit. Over two hundred students and parents attended the ceremony.
Steve Miller, the head science teacher for seventh and eighth grades, told those in attendance that, “Survival and success in modern society means that each of us—whether artist, teacher, janitor, or physicist—needs to understand some science and to think scientifically. As a community, we face decisions about our diet, environment, and economy that require an informed public.”
Merit Awards, for those projects not recognized by the judges but deemed worthy of recognition by the science department, were given to third graders, Audrey Avakian, Sebastian Azarian, Mia Byers and Mila Terantonians; fifth graders, Arthur Akopyan, Narek Arzumanian, Ava C. Avakian and Caroline Schroeder; and seventh graders, Melania Harutunians, Raphael Kaplan, Pavel Markov and Alina Topuzyan. Honorable Mentions were handed out to third graders, Ava Ghazaryan, Nicholas Grigoryan, Stella Karroum and Gregory Taroian; fifth graders, Griffin DiNicola, Noah Keller and Anais Rupchian; and seventh graders Darren Avanesian and Yash Jaju. Third-place honors went to third graders, Gregory Grigoryants, Ethan Petrossian and Nairi Petrossian; fifth grader, Nicholas Arutyunyan; and seventh grader, Elena Markov. Second place went to third graders, Christian Delakyan, Sophia Jarakian and Cyrus Sajjadieh; fifth graders, Matthew Harutunians and Tyger Low; and seventh graders, David Marjik and Leonna Torosyan. First-place honors went to third graders, Ella Van Dyke, Sona Kistorian and Celesia Kupelian; fifth grader, Levon Gregorian; and seventh grader, Guglielmo Cordara.