Twelve-year-old Kate Piché of KVR Middle School will carry the Penticton banner in next month’s national science fair competition in Regina, Sask.
The Grade 7 student’s Climate Change is No Hoax project captured the gold award and the BC Hydro for Generations prize at the Central Okanagan Regional Science Fair at Summerland Secondary School earlier this month.
“Climate change is probably going to affect my generation the most so I thought I should probably see if there is anything we can do,” said Kate about the reason she decided to enter the regional event. “I think global warming is probably from car exhaust and the burning of carbon fuels and if bigger places like sky scrapers use solar panels as windows, so if we had more things like that it would be a good place to start.”
The project, which she started last November, two months ahead of her classmates because of the work involved, looks at the overall aspect of global warming and the second is the use of solar power.
It included a working model of a solar-powered cell phone charger using a colourful box her grandmother gave and a small solar panel.
With some soldering instruction from her dad she was able to put the small electronics together into a working unit as a prototype of the project.
For those who believe global warming is a hoax she had these words: “you’ll just have to show them the changes like rising sea levels that are happening the polar ice caps that are melting so they’ll just have to see it for themselves to believe.”
And her initial reaction to winning the gold award: “Really surprised, but happy.”
However KVR principal Steve DeVito was not surprised.
“Exceptional,” is how he described Kate. “She’s a very hardworking student, motivated with lots of family support.”
She will be joined at the nationals by five other winners from the regional competition including Summerland Secondary School student Grant Mansiere.
Mansiere won the B.C. Nature Award (senior division) for his project, Why Do Aspens Tremble? Adaptions for Self Cleaning and Pest Control.
The other qualifying students were from Kelowna area schools.
Kate’s mom is a doctor, but the 12-year-old has other aspirations.
“I’m thinking electrical engineer,” said Kate. “Most things in the future are going to be electrical so that’s probably the safest way to go. In the future my mom might not have a job because robots might be able to do that.”
Other area winners from the regional fair included: Ashley McMillan of KVR Middle School and Julia Mansiere of Summerland Middle School.