Students Excel At 2013 National Science Fair

Middle and high school students at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) scored big at the 2013 Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) National Science Fair for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. More than 50 contestants from across the country brought their exhibits to the competition, held March 22-24, 2013 in Rochester, New York.

The goal of the RIT National Science Fair, now in its eighth year, is to promote interest in science, technology, engineering and math by sixth through twelfth graders who are deaf or hard of hearing. FSDB Deaf Middle and High Schools held preliminary Science Fair events to send eligible students to compete at the national level.

FSDB eighth grade students Reeba Brooks from Sebring and Zachary Williams from Palm Coast earned second place honors in the Middle School Team division for “Light Up Your World”. Eighth graders Javier Castaneda of St. Augustine and Tyler Powell  (in absentia) of Davenport won third place for “Solar Cells”.  In the High School Team division, FSDB tenth grade students Susan and Sarah Sharp from Jacksonville won third place for “Peripheral Vision”. Also in attendance were sophomores Ivy Richardson (Palm Harbor), Alex Wallace (Palm City) and Chasien Taylor (Lakeland).  Teachers Terri Samson and Corey Mahon accompanied students to RIT/NTID for the national competition.

First, second, and third place cash prizes were awarded to middle school students, high school students and in team divisions. First place winners in each division were awarded $500; second place winners received $300 and third place winners received $200. Each winner also received plaques – their respective schools received plaques as well.

FSDB Deaf Middle School Assistant Principal, Martin Price, said, “Since entering the National Science Fair two years ago, FSDB students won first and second place in 2011 and third place in 2012, and we look forward to our students continuing their winning ways.” Price continued, “Students who have participated in this seminal event have come back to FSDB with a greater purpose of doing more and achieving more in their endeavors. Yes, they have won cash prizes but they’ve brought home a greater sense of their place in the world having visited a top notch technical college (NTID), networked with many other students from many schools across the country, and most important of all, they’ve realized that FSDB has put a lot of effort in the science curriculum, especially with our STEM Lab, which has enabled their enthusiastic pursuit of scientific knowledge.”

Excitement among FSDB students was high prior to their trip to Rochester, NY, Zach Williams said, “I look forward to a fun experience standing in front of the judges.” Reeba Brooks said “I can’t wait; it’ll be my first trip out of state. I know I will be terrified, but it will also be fun to answer questions from the judges.” Javier Castaneda added, “I am excited to go to New York, especially RIT/NTID because I have heard so much about it. I can’t wait to meet other people, see more science projects as I love learning new things about science and gaining hands-on experience.”

Plans are under way for the 2014 RIT National Science Fair; details will be posted at

Congratulations to our FSDB student winners and student participants in this year’s RIT National Science Fair!

–Submitted by Terri Samson, Teacher, Deaf Middle School Social Science and Language Arts