Young scientists show their stuff

Durango played host to the 55th annual San Juan Basin Regional Science Fair on Thursday, March 7. A total of 262 middle and high school students from Montezuma, Dolores, La Plata, San Juan, Archuleta and Hinsdale counties presented 232 different projects (some in pairs). They were eligible to take part in the regional competition after advancing from their own schools' fairs.

Cortez Middle School

. 1st Place: Jaiden Valles, math and computer science; Skylar Robinson, microbiology; Gabe Santacroce, energy and transportation

. 2nd Place: Arica Dean, physics; Madison Mahaffey and Emily Martin, team projects

. 3rd Place: Lily Eddy, chemistry; Cortney Cashner, math and computer science; Kailey Case and Noah Rainer, team projects; Lacey Leonard, behavioral and social science

. Honorable Mentions: Jasen Engel, physics; Cassidy Livengood, medicine and health; Isaiah Wright and Shaylin Smith, engineering; Brooklyn Kibel, engineering

. Other: Kameron Daves, Ilai Sanders and Donovan Evans, Kiwanis Spirit Award

Montezuma-Cortez High School has no mandatory science fair curriculum, but students are able to submit independent study projects for consideration. However, science teacher Joshua Walton said he was not aware of any M-CHS entrants this year.

Nineteen projects (11 middle school, eight high school) from the regional fair advanced to the Colorado State Science Fair, happening April 11-13 in Fort Collins.

Cortez and Dolores did not send anyone to state this year. Mancos has two state finalists from middle school level, and one from high school, according to coordinator Lynn Schneider.