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Science fair underway at Pearl River Central Upper Elementary

The gymnasium at Pearl River Central Upper Elementary is currently packed with posterboards and science projects as the judging for the annual science fair is underway.

Almost 300 projects are being judged over the course of the two-day event, as students from kindergarten to fifth grade participate in the competition. The event began on Wednesday and will conclude today.

Pearl River Central Upper Elementary Assistant Principal Vol White said that while the fourth and fifth graders are required to complete a science project in the classroom, participation in the fair is not mandatory.

“We’ve had some good numbers participating this year,” said White, who has organized the science fair for the past three years.

Pearl River Central Upper Elementary has more than 700 students, and White said that many of the students were excited to design and present their entries.

The nearly 300 science fair projects being judged on Wednesday and Thursday represent almost half of the student body.

White said there are 11 judges in charge of determining the winners. The judges are volunteers from various local organizations such as Stennis Space Center, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Students are separated into two different age groups; kindergarteners through third graders are in one group, while fourth and fifth graders compete in the other.

The projects are also separated into 10 categories: behavioral and social sciences, biochemistry, botany, Earth, space and environmental sciences, medicine and health, microbiology, zoology, engineering, computers and math, physics and chemistry. The judges will decide a first, second and third-place winner for each category and issue as many honorable mentions as they see fit, said White.

The overall winners will advance to the regional competition at the University of Southern Mississippi this April.

Parents of science fair participants will have a chance to view the projects at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, after which an awards ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. in the Pearl River Central Upper Elementary Auditorium.

White said he appreciates the help of all of the judges and added that the science fair would not be possible without their assistance.

“We are very thankful they take time from their jobs to help us with ours,” said White.