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Young minds shine at science fair

Staff Photo: John Bohn Grayson High School students Micheal Mathews, 16, left, and Dalton Phillips, 15, right, discuss their project titled "Concrete Support" during the Gwinnett County Regional Science and Engineering Fair. The event showcases the work of young minds from around the area and was held at Gwinnett Center in Duluth on Friday.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Grayson High School students Micheal Mathews, 16, left, and Dalton Phillips, 15, right, discuss their project titled "Concrete Support" during the Gwinnett County Regional Science and Engineering Fair. The event showcases the work of young minds from around the area and was held at Gwinnett Center in Duluth on Friday.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Brothers Christopher Scalzi, 10, and Matthew Scalzi, 7, of Lilburn, view an Animal Sciences project by Arsal Haider titled "The Heart of a Frog" at the Gwinnett County Regional Science and Engineering Fair. The event showcases the work of young minds from around the area and was held at Gwinnett Center in Duluth on Friday.

DULUTH -- While he's no science fair judge, Tony Scalzi admits what he saw Friday was pretty cool.

"There's some amazing stuff here," said Scalzi, who showed up for Friday's science fair at the Gwinnett Center with wife, Kris Anne and sons, Christopher and Matthew.

The family walked through the center, eyes wide, examining the research data of more than 1,000 local students -- the information sandwiched between tri-fold poster boards.

First place winners from schools all over the district and Gwinnett County got a chance to showcase their knowledge and skills during the Gwinnett County Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

Visitors were invited to come take a look Friday afternoon, while judges surveyed the work throughout the day.

Projects were judged by Georgia professionals and scientists who assessed them on scientific quality, accuracy, creativity and experimental design.

They examined projects with titles such as "The Preferred Surfaces of Hermit Crabs," "The Effectiveness of Goat Dewormers" and "Ethanol Power!"

Others inquired with topics like "Can the Rubik's Cube Make You a Genius?"

Grayson High School students Dalton Phillips, 15, and Micheal Mathews, 16, sought to find out what materials could support concrete the best in their project.

Their prediction: fiberglass. Their finding: a steel cage.

A visitor to the science fair, Emily Buechler, 13, found it all "really interesting."

And so did the Scalzi Family.

"Everywhere you see something impressive," said Tony Scalzi. "There's a lot of hard work in this room."

Judges planned to announce winners of the fair late Friday night. For a list of winners, visit www.gwinnettsciencefair.com next week.

According to its website, the Gwinnett County Regional Science and Engineering Fair is "an annual tradition ... that recognizes the urgent need for our country to produce science-literate students and skilled, knowledgeable engineers and researchers to meet the demands of our high tech industries."