Who will be this year’s science fair Suns?

The 2010 Rotary Central Science
Fair will take place on Saturday at the Cayman Arts and Recreation Centre at
Cayman International School.

At the free event on 8 May, from 10am
to 3pm, competitors from the Island’s middle and high schools will be showing
off their science chops.

Students will be competing for
prizes, including cash, in a wide range of project categories from life science
(micro-biology, botany or zoology); earth science; environment, weather, astronomy
and ecology; physics and chemistry; computer science; to food and health.

Michael Sun, a 17-year-old St.
Ignatius Catholic School student, won his category at the Science Fair in three
consecutive years. “Taking part in the science fair was a very rewarding
experience for me,” he said.

“As a student it gave me the
opportunity to put into practice what I have learned in school and explore the
practical applications of the theory.”

Kelly Sun, Michael’s twin sister
and fellow St. Ignatius student, took first place in last year’s Health Food
category. Like her brother, she is an avid scientist.

“I really enjoy studying the
sciences, especially biology”, she said.

“I particularly like to see how the
subject areas I study affect us all here in the Cayman Islands, for example, by
looking at the relationship between the climate and skin cancer. I think it is
very good that science can help make us all more aware of things that affect
us.”

Now in its fourth year, the fair is
designed to sharpen students’ knowledge of science, to challenge them, and to
broaden their skills through the application and documentation of the
scientific process.

The cash prizes for the winners are
held in a Rotary Central managed trust fund to help finance students’ further
education plans.

Like all students who take part in
the science fair, both Michael and Kelly had help from their mentors, members
of Cayman’s corporate community who help students develop their science projects
for the exhibition.

Kelly’s mentor was St. Matthews
University School of Medicine Associate Professor Gerardo Ochoa–Vargas.

“I was very lucky that my mentor
was able to give me such specialist support on my project,” said Kelly.

“It is very helpful to have someone
to bounce ideas off and who can help give direction to your project. I think
mentors are a very important part of the process.”

Michael was mentored by
Vice-President Transmission and Distribution at Caribbean Utilities Company Andrew
Small.

“Through our mentors we gain access
to more resources to help with our project work,” said Michael.

“Having a mentor means you have a
useful source of information and knowledge, as well as someone who can help you
source materials for your project. Entering the Science Fair is very time consuming
for students so it is great to have someone who can help you with research and
fieldwork.”

Rotary Central President Paul Byles
noted Cayman’s business community appears eager to play a role in the development
and education of young people in Cayman.

“People are growing ever more
conscious of the importance of initiatives such as this, which provide opportunities
for our youth to channel their energies in to something positive that will have
short- and long-term benefits, both for the individuals and the community as a
whole,” he said.

“This is particularly important
when we see crime on the rise and young people increasingly in need of
opportunities to take part in constructive pursuits.”

The role that parents play is
increasingly hailed as one of the key success factors in guiding young people
down a positive path, and it is perhaps no surprise that Michael and Kelly’s
parents are actively involved in the personal and educational development of
their two children.

 “Young people face great challenges in modern
society, perhaps more than ever before,” said Ken Sun, the twins’ father.

“It is crucial for parents to
encourage their children and provide an environment, which is conducive to
helping them fulfil their potential and be the best they can be. We have always
taken an active interest in our children’s schoolwork, and encouraged them to
study and work hard,” he said.

 “It is important that they understand what society
will expect of them when they leave education. The science fair is good for this
because it exposes them to working professionals and gives them some real life
practical experience of competing in a challenging environment where they can
be rewarded for their efforts.”

Mr. Sun considers education a
community responsibility.

“Education is something we should
all be a part of, and it should be available to everyone regardless of your
social, cultural or economic background,” he said.

While Michael and Kelly will be
taking a break from the science fair this year they are proud of their past achievements.

Michael said he would recommend the
experience to any student.

“Taking part in the science fair
has helped me develop my research and analytical skills, as well as my
interpersonal skills and confidence,” he said. 

 “Being announced at the awards banquet was a
little nerve racking, but the whole experience is extremely rewarding.”

LOCALWhowillbeLEAD

Kelly Sun and her twin brother Michael are past Rotary Central Science Fair winners.
Photo: Submitted
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