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Pelham Science Symposium Showcases Student Work

PELHAM, N.Y. – Pelham Memorial High School celebrated the culmination of its 13th annual science research program with a symposium Tuesday night as sophomores, juniors and seniors presented their research projects to families, administrators and staff.

“I’m extremely proud and humbled by the caliber of work the youngsters have put forth as well as the dedication of the staff to work so vigorously,” said Jeannine Clark, principal of Pelham Memorial. “I really, literally, do have chills when I look at their posters.”

The science research program is an elective that students begin as freshmen and continue throughout high school. During their freshmen and sophomore years, the students learn the scientific method in intricate detail and complete experiments in school. As juniors and seniors, they complete internships at hospitals or research centers. They also compete in local, state and national science competitions.

In addition, the students can receive college credit through SUNY-Albany. Currently, 85 students are in the program, while 106 are signed up for next year.

Seniors, juniors and sophomores on Tuesday presented their projects on poster boards in the hallway as people passed by. The nine seniors also did PowerPoint presentations of their projects.

Projects such as these “sets them apart from their peers,” Clark said. It makes her wonder whether one of them will be the person who “comes up with something great – the cure for cancer,” she said.

Steve Beltecas, science research director, and Brian Terry, the grade 6 to 12 science supervisor, commended the students and staff during speeches Tuesday.

Adolescence is the “perfect age” to take part in science research, Terry said. “They want to question everything and let’s face it, that’s what science is – the search for answers,” said Terry. “The highest level of science is science research – inquiry, finding solutions for problems, and going for it.

The students in the program feel like a family and bond at science competitions, Beltecas said. “The amazing thing here is that there is now a buzz not only in Pelham, but at these competitions where other schools are beginning to recognize that Pelham is one of the programs on the rise,” he said.

Peter Giarizzo, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and personnel, was impressed by the students’ work.

“They’re really committed and dedicated to their research,” said Giarizzo. “It speaks to the dedication of the kids in the area and then the ability of our staff to foster this kind of learning and to keep it moving.”

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