By Maj. Jesse StalderMarch 1, 2010
VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI, (Mar, 1, 2010)--Master Sgt. James McClure did not expect to see the same type of engineer work that he did in the Middle East at the Vicksburg, Miss. School District Science Fair on Feb. 24, 2010.
Charlie Dove, a sixth-grader at St. Francis Xavier Elementary School was the first place winner in the Earth Space and Environmental Science category for his soil and rock sampling project.
"The process that he used in developing his hypothesis and conclusion pretty much followed what I did as a member of the soil and survey section in Iraq and Kuwait," said McClure. "They're doing things that I didn't do until I was like in my high school years."
McClure and three other Reservists from the 412th Theater Engineer Command each volunteered for two days to judge 160 projects in 20 categories at the city auditorium. Lt. Col. Michael Bryant and Master Sgt. Terry New were judges on day one, and McClure teamed up with Lt. Col. Daniel George on day two.
Last year George was one of two 412th Soldiers who helped judge the science fair. The committee was impressed with the Soldiers' efforts, so this year's organizers again requested assistance from the unit.
"They work in the field, they know the field and for them to see what the kids are doing is great, and it gives the students positive feedback," said Terry Guynn, a Bovina Elementary School teacher and a science fair coordinator.
During the judging process each contestant explained their hypothesis to the judges, an interaction the students and the Soldiers seemed to enjoy.
"I feel great about having Army judges here, because my brother is in the Army," said Jasmine Elma a science fair participant.
"I believe in taking care of the youth and the elderly and this is where the rubber meets the road, McClure said. "This is where you help develop young kids."
The 412th donated two trophies to the event as they've done in past years past. McClure presented one of the trophies to Rett Verhine the overall winner of the event. The 6th grader from St. Francis Elementary won in the zoology category. His project showed that crawfish depend on their antennas for direction. When Verhine taped down the crawfish's left antenna it walked to the right, when he taped down the right antenna it walked to the left.