Peace Country students moving on to National Science Fair

By Courtney Almeida
March 20, 2019 - 5:30am Updated: March 20, 2019 - 7:00am

Joshua Street from Bezanson School in the Peace Wapiti Public School Division took home first place in the 2019 Peace Country Regional Science Fair and is now headed to Nationals. The Grade 9 student won gold at the Fair held in Peace River over the weekend, for his Pro Detector project.

“We’re all so proud of him. It takes so many people in a school to get kids to where they need to be,” says Jillian Owens, Science Teacher at Bezanson School.

Street’s Pro Detector project was named Best in Fair. He also captured first place in the Grades 9-10 category for Biotechnology, Engineering and Mathematics.

“I want to be a Robotics Engineer,” says Street.

The Pro Detector project is a programmable fire alarm. It was created through coding and 3D-printing all parts. Using a radio signal, the alarm can be reset for up to a few minutes.

“My step-dad taught me how to program it and my brother taught me how to use a 3D-Printer and design something for it.”

For example, if burnt toast happens to set off an alarm, the user can reset the alarm to provide a few additional minutes to manage the smoke and skip the hassle of having to remove the batteries to reset the device. Street’s alarm can automatically turn itself back on after an established amount of time has passed.

“He didn’t have any class time this year to work on his project, so his entire project was done independently at home,” said Owens.

“I programmed it using an Arduino Uno and put a timed delay on it, so it used my microcontroller to control a relay, to turn off and on the smoke detector,” said Street.

The win will allow him to advance onto this year’s nationally ranked Canada-Wide Science Fair, which takes place May 11-17 in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

“I never taught Josh how to code. I never taught him how to program things or how to use a 3D-Printer. He really did that himself. He was self-motivated. That speaks a lot to Josh as a person and as a student,” notes Owens.

Before attending the national event, he’ll be making improvements to his existing model.

“I’m excited. I’m planning to make my project better. I’m going to make it so it can connect to a wireless server. Hopefully, like wi-fi and then it can email you when it goes off.”

The 58th annual competition will feature 500 of Canada’s top young scientists from grades 7 to 12. Students will compete to take home awards, prizes and scholarships but the event really provides a learning experience for all students in attendance.

The week-long commitment will give students the opportunity to connect with others from around the country, in addition to being able to interact with working scientists and engineers.

Glenmary School, part of Peace River’s Holy Family Catholic Regional Division also had a strong showcase at the Fair.

Vijeth Castelino, Joshua Hewko, Mitch Davis and Jonathan Goudreault of Glenmary School also qualified for the 2019 Canada-Wide Science Fair by winning gold in their project categories.

Most notable is Castelino, a Grade 8 student, who additionally won an award for Excellence in Health and Life Sciences.

The Peace Country Regional Science Fair will be sending the national competitors to New Brunswick, free of charge. They will also be helping students make improvements to their existing projects ahead of the competition.

 “I’ve done Science Fair’s for years and I’ve had many students submit projects but unless they’re passionate about what it is they’re choosing to do their project on, it really doesn’t compute the same way,” says Owens.

For a full list of Peace Country Regional Science Fair winners click here

Possible record-breaker for first day of spring

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