Science a fair deal at Victor Sammurtok School in Nunavut

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The little school that can began its preparations for hosting the 2020 Kivalliq Regional Science Fair when Victor Sammurtok School (VSS) held its kindergarten to Grade 8 science fair in Chesterfield Inlet last week.

The tiny school in Chester has been a powerhouse at the regional fair during the past two decades, with at least one student qualifying to move on to the national competition for 16 straight years.

Kayalaaq Leishman-Brocklebank took top spot at the VSS science fair for her work on bean planting. 

VSS teacher Glen Brocklebank said there was additional pressure – and opportunity – on the Grade 7 and Grade 8 students because two spots have been allotted for them to participate in the regional fair this March 20 to 23.

He said the kids did a great job at the VSS fair this year, with students in grades five and six producing the best science projects ever from those two grades at the school.

“It was, overall, a very strong fair for us this year,” said Brocklebank.

“Hosting the regional fair is a big deal for our school and we saw some really good projects entered into our first fair.

“Our high school students don’t have science until the second semester, which is just about to start, so that’s why we’ve held the two fairs separately during the past few years.

“We’ll hold our senior science fair at the beginning of March.”

VSS is expected to enter another strong field of projects at this year’s regional fair, and, because it’s hosting the event, the science-loving school gets to have eight students participate in the event compared to four for the other six Kivalliq communities.

Brocklebank said the entire community gets into the regional science fair when it’s hosted in Chester due to the school’s impressive track record at the event over the years.

He said a history, or tradition, has also been established over the years among all the parents and other adults in the community who have attended the Canada-wide Science Fair with qualifying VSS students.

“We also have some folks working at the school who have gone to the Canada-wide Science Fair with our students, as well, so they really get into our regional science fair every year too.

“So, we expect it to be a really big deal here in the community when we host the regional fair this March.

“And, of course, the Kivalliq Regional Science Fair is a really, really big deal among our students because of the success so many of our kids have enjoyed over the years.

“A science fair legacy has been established at VSS and our students work hard to achieve the same level of success at the regional fair as those students – many of them their older siblings or cousins – who went before them.”

Sabrina Tanuyak took second place in the local kindergarten to Grade 8 science fair at Victor Sammurtok School in Chesterfield Inlet in January. Photo courtesy of Glen Brocklebank
Grade 5/6 students Kaili Mullins, left, and Austin Mullins scored second place with the judges for their project, Clear the Puck, at the elementary to Grade 8 science fair at Victor Sammurtok School in Chesterfield Inlet on Jan. 15. Photo courtesy of Ana Leishman
Joye Tautu takes home a third place finish for her work on Inuit Medicine in the elementary to Grade 8 science fair at Victor Sammurtok School in Chesterfield Inlet on Jan. 15. Photo courtesy of Ana Leishman
The future looks bright for continued excellence in science with young minds such as Clara Sammurtok, left, and Liam Mullins coming up through the ranks during the elementary to Grade 8 science fair at Victor Sammurtok School in Chesterfield Inlet on Jan. 15. Photo courtesy of Ana Leishman

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