Students share knowledge at fair

Fourth and fifth grade students at Jennings Randolph Elementary School had the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of different topics Tuesday during the school’s social studies fair.

More than 70 projects packed the gym where students presented displays on such topics as cats in ancient times, birds of West Virginia, the Eiffel Tower, the Emancipation Proclamation and agoraphobia.

“They have all done a great job and put their best efforts forward,” said organizer Patricia Lambert. “Students have projects in eight categories. A finished social studies project includes a display, a summary of the project and a speech.”

Lambert said group speeches are 10 minutes in length, and individual projects feature a five-minute speech.

“At Jennings Randolph, we also require students to complete a two-page written report,” Lambert said. “This helps the students learn about reporting and research.”

Fourth-grader Aiden Gard said he completed his project on agoraphobia.

“I find disorders of the brain fascinating,” Gard said. “Women are four times more likely to get the illness, and two times more likely than men to have the disease. With my display, I tried to make the scenery nice and show how the victims of agoraphobia are trapped on the inside.”

Gard said this is his first social studies fair.

Emma Downey and Kimberly Knapp both wanted to do their projects on President Abraham Lincoln, so they joined forces on their project.

“We decided to put our resources together because we wanted to do the same thing,” said Downey. “President Lincoln had a lot to do with the Civil War.”

“This year marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation,” said Knapp. “We could do more by joining together on our project.”

Lambert said the students began working on their projects right before Christmas.

“The projects help the students learn more about a subject of their interest,” Lambert said. “They also develop communication skills, and learn about researching, organizing and time management.”

First-place winners who score 90 percent or above will move on to compete in the Randolph County Social Studies Fair.

Monica Guye Varchetto volunteers each year to judge the school social studies fair projects.

“Now that my daughter Katie is in high school, I come back to Jennings Randolph Elementary School to help with this event and see the kids,” Varchetto said. “Some of the girls were in my Brownie Girl Scout troops, and it is neat to see how their minds grow and develop, and great to see and talk to them about their projects.”

Randolph County Development Authority Director Robbie Morris said he volunteers to judge at this event because he enjoys seeing the projects and the children.

“I love the imagination and creativity the children use,” Morris said. “I learn from their projects. I think it is important for the students to learn about the subjects, expand their knowledge and put their projects together.”

The Randolph County Social Studies Fair is slated for Feb. 12 at Beverly Volunteer Fire Department.