Beards and kangaroos at Telstar science expo

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BETHEL — A thirst for knowledge and a hunger for learning were both satisfied at the Science Expo on Friday night at Telstar Middle and High schools in Bethel.

Sarah Southam, who teaches high school math and science, was excited about Friday’s expo because it is the first year that high school students have participated. Junior and senior students enrolled in Southam’s classes, and some who aren’t, conducted experiments or demonstrations for the expo, and did a project on their findings.

Unlike science fairs in the past at the middle school, there was no element of competition for the high school students, except against themselves.

“The point here is to celebrate science,” Southam said.

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In the gymnasium, Derek and Meghan of Wildlife Encounters in Rochester, New Hampshire, brought a display to share with attendees. She cuddled a baby kangaroo while a macaw perched behind her and a snake, about 10 feet long, slithered along the top of their tent. A large, fat lizard sat next to Derek, available for anyone to pet.

Also in the gym, among the numerous display boards, was sixth-grader Autumn Thompson, who predicted she could teach her dog how to sit, lie down, roll over and find treats using only seven-minute lessons. Over three days, Thompson was able to teach her dog every trick. To prepare, she educated herself in techniques used to train service dogs.

In the cafeteria, a team of five juniors and seniors, Gabe Sylvester, Kody Verrill, Matt Morin, Robert Sicotte and Brett Hastings, handed out samples of the maple syrup they made from sap collected from trees surrounding the school.

Senior Jeremiah Richardson conducted a social experiment on the perception of beards. Using a survey with celebrities pictured side by side with and without their facial hair, he found high school students and teachers at Telstar perceived men with beards to be more attractive, more masculine, older, more trustworthy, and less fiscally responsible than their shaven counterparts.

Richardson plans to attend the University of Maine in Orono in the fall, and after his experiment, is wondering whether he should keep his beard.

“I want to be better-looking and more trustworthy, but I also need to appear fiscally responsible since I’m studying finance,” Richardson said.

emarquis@sunmediagroup.net

Sixth-grader Autumn Thompson taught her dog how to sit, lie down, roll over and find treats for her Science Expo project, displayed in the gymnasium at Telstar Regional High school in Bethel on Friday night.

Jeremiah Richardson did a social experiment on the perception of beards for his project for the Science Expo at Telstar Regional High School in Bethel on Friday night.

Brett Hastings stands next to a display of maple syrup that juniors and seniors at Telstar Regional High School brought to the Science Expo at the school Friday night. The students tapped trees around the school and made the syrup.

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