Group shot of award winners
Award winners and guests, taken by Waipahu High School Principal Keith Hayashi.

It was standing room only at the March 14 awards ceremony for the 33rd Annual Leeward District Science and Engineering Fair held at Leeward Community College. More than 125 students participated at the annual fair in February, where they displayed and explained their scientific research and findings to individual scientists, community groups and faculty.

The five participating schools, Pearl City High, Waipahu High, Kapolei High, Campbell High and Nānākuli Intermediate and High, entered 31 team projects and 54 individual projects for a total of 85 projects. More than 60 volunteer judges spent time with the students and evaluated the projects.

student holding science fair trophy with four other people
From left, Waipahu High School science teacher Michael Sana, Chancellor Manny Cabral, Overall Senior Research Project winner Dylan Tucker, Senator Michelle Kidani and Waipahu High School Principal Keith Hayashi
science fair winner holding trophy
Team project winners from left, Alyssa Watarida and Michelle Tam, Kapolei High School sophomores
science fair participants
Special mention winners Russell Mendoza, right, and Simeon Jose de Hitta, left, Waipahu High School juniors.

Top three awards:

  • 1st Place Individual: Dylan Tucker, Waipahu High, top Overall Senior Research Project, “Saving our environment: Ash in concrete”
  • 1st Place Team: Alyssa Watarida and Michelle Tam, Kapolei High, top Team Project, “Effects of different frequencies of electromagnetic radiation on the growth rates of the cyanobacteria Spirulina platensis
  • 3rd Place: Lily Adcock, Pearl City High, Fair Director’s Award, “Evaluation of scrubber designs for cleaning shiphulls”

Honolulu City Council members Brandon Elefante and Kymberly Pine, Representative Roy Takumi and Senator Michelle Kidani joined the proud families and friends at the awards event, along with Leeward CC Chancellor Manny Cabral.

“I am inspired by the talent and dedication of the students and their passion for all things STEM!” said Cabral, a former mathematics professor. “The future of Hawaiʻi’s budding scientists is very bright.”

The annual fair is coordinated by 2015 Milken Award winner Michael Sana, a science teacher from Waipahu High, and Andrea Herndon and Sandro Jube, faculty from Leeward CC’s math and sciences division.

The winning students will represent the Leeward district and State of Hawaiʻi at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in May.

—By Kathleen Cabral