Students learn through social projects

Published 7:10 am Friday, February 20, 2009

Brianna Salem, a student at Lillian E. Williams Elementary School, won top prize for fifth- and sixth-graders at this year’s Decatur County Social Science Fair, which took place Feb. 12 at Bainbridge College.

Top prize for the best seventh- and eighth-grade project went to Victoria Long from Hutto Middle School.

Salem’s history project, “Did the Panama Canal Have an Effect on the United States?” took first place out of a field of 20 fifth- and sixth-grade entries in the contest. Her directing teacher on the project was Dena Godwin.

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Second prize went to Josef Drinkard from West Bainbridge Elementary.

Kaitlyn Bullock from Jones-Wheat Elementary won third place.

First-place winner for seventh- and eighth-graders was Victoria Anne Long. Her project, “Vivaldi: Classical Master,” examined the historical impact of Vivaldi’s work on early classical music. Her directing teacher on the project was Julia Faye Smith.

Second place went to Hunter Savage from Hutto Middle School.

Third place went to Troup Alexander Burney, also from Hutto.

Other entrants

In addition to the six winners, other entrants included the following: from West Bainbridge Elementary, Corey Morrison, Sawyer Elaine Hall and Maci Elizabeth Barber; from Potter Street Elementary, Jeantavious Jeanty, Elijah Tyler, Michaela Calhoun and Carla Hernandez; from Jones-Wheat Elementary, Matthew Green and Myles Thomas; from Lillian E. Williams Elementary, Antehyia Odom, Elisia Everson, Kiara Clark and Tyler Harrell; from John Johnson Elementary, Taylor Bush, Nicolette Grace McIntosh, Bennett Enfinger and Evan Oldaker, and from Hutto Middle School, Karley Bryce Harris.

Up to eight entrants in this year’s county-level fair are eligible to compete in the regional contest at Columbus State University on Feb. 28.

Fair is partnership between college, schools

“Last year was a banner year for the Decatur County Social Science Fair, but this year’s entries exceeded all our expectations,” said fair director John Vanzo, an assistant professor of political science at Bainbridge College. “The kids did a wonderful job. The parents and the directing teachers also deserve a lot of credit for making the extra effort required for events like this. Activities such as the Social Science Fair help young people develop scientific curiosity, research experience and social skills that can be a great advantage to them later in life, and we at Bainbridge College feel privileged to participate.”

Bainbridge College faculty members Michael Stewart, assistant professor of sociology, Roger Lunt, instructor of economics, David Nelson, instructor of history, and Valley Rogers, director of early childhood care and education, served as judges for the contest. Tonya Strickland, chair of the Division of Arts and Sciences, awarded the trophies and certificates of participation.

Susan Johnson, assistant superintendent of elementary education for Decatur County, coordinated the project with area schools. The Bainbridge College Foundation and the Bainbridge College Social Science Club funded the purchase of engraved trophies for the six winners.

The fair is an annual activity sponsored by the Georgia Council for the Social Studies and is designed to complement the research and information processing skills required under the state’s curriculum guidelines.