Students First – Three IMS students win county cash/trophies

(Submitted photo/Jennifer L. Kupiec) The students who won prices and will be representing Collier County at the State Science and Engineering Fair.

The community of Immokalee has a lot to be #CCPSProud of this week. Not only is it celebrating the success of former Immokalee High School football player, J.C. Jackson, and his recent Superbowl win, but they can also be proud of the academic success of its middle school students.

In November, Immokalee Middle School (IMS) held its annual school science fair. There was a very interesting group of about 100 presentations which were judged by some local non-profits and agencies such as Guadalupe Center, Robert’s Ranch, Florida State University, Boys and Girls Club, IMS staff, and parent volunteers as well. Ultimately 13 winners were chosen to move on to the Collier Regional Science and Engineering Fair (CRSEF). They competed on January 25 at North Collier Regional Park, and the winners were announced at the district’s annual STEAM Conference which was held this past Saturday.

(Submitted photo/Jennifer L. Kupiec) Sixth grader Yeneisi Calihua earned grand prize status.

Among the 33 winners across CCPS, IMS had three students who won both a trophy and cash award! Kelly Garcia, a sixth grader, took third place in her category. Kelly compared the durability of different types of paper after it was recycled through a homemade method in which she compared black and white newsprint, colored newsprint, and office copy paper. Evelyn Argueta, in eighth grade, compared how effective various fabrics were at preventing UVA and UVB radiation from harming one’s skin. Evelyn achieved a second place prize for her experiment.

IMS also had one student selected as a grand prize winner who will represent Collier County as one of 13 middle school students attending the State Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) in March. Sixth grader Yeneisi Calihua earned grand prize status as well as a $2,500 scholarship to Florida Gulf Coast University for her experiment on nail polish durability. Many judges remarked on what an interesting and practical experiment Yeneisi developed. She ran about 50 trials, comparing the durability of types of nail polish. Yeneisi also attempted trials after soaking the nail polish in dish water, simulating how it would hold up after daily chores such as washing dishes. According to science coach, Melanie Villa, “The creative idea, multiple trials, in-depth research, and statistical analysis conducted by Yeneisi have allowed her the opportunity to an all-expense paid trip to the SSEF and the opportunity to earn additional awards, scholarships, and prizes.”

(Submitted photo/Jennifer L. Kupiec) Evelyn Argueta, eighth grade, took second place.

We wish Yeneisi the best of luck as she travels to the SSEF to present her project!

(Submitted photo/Jennifer L. Kupiec) Kelly Garcia, a sixth grader, took third place in her category.

Jennifer L. Kupiec is the Specialist, Communications & Community Engagement Collier County Public Schools

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