DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) - The science fair is a part of education for many area students. They put together a project on the topic of their choice and present it to teachers and students at their schools.
The science fair competition begins at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Then category winners advance to regionals held at McNeese each year. Winners there advance to the state level, but the overall winner gets a ticket straight to the international science fair.
That student is DeRidder high school sophomore Wilson brown.
He shared his science fair project Thursday with the Rotary Club, the same project he will bring to the international science fair in May. It deals with the strength of concrete.
"I did my project on testing different levels of aggregates in cement to make concrete," said Brown. "And I wanted to find which type was stronger."
He did it by mixing different levels of sand and cement in different ratios.
"The results were not very clear and this was probably because the variables weren't controlled enough," said Brown.
So he did his experiment again, this time with the help of the department of transportation. He took home overall first place at the regional science fair which supplied his ticket to Pittsburgh. This is the second year in a row Brown has advanced to the international level.
"It was a blast last year when we went to Los Angeles and I'm looking forward to it a lot again this year," said Brown.
DeRidder sophomore John Ham also presented his project titled "Some Like it Hot."
"The purpose of my project was to answer the question how do we make seeds germinate faster during the winter months when temperatures are cooler," said Ham.
Ham won first place in his category at regionals and is advancing to state. His inspiration for his project came from his mom.
"My mom, she owns a nursery and we have a lot of people come in during the winter and we sometimes don't have very good vegetables at that time," said Ham.
Both students are members of the science club, and President Amelia Parks says their achievements are important for their school.
"It makes us very proud to know that they are going to be going further, meeting people from all over the place, putting DeRidder, this little place in Louisiana, on the map," said Parks. "It's a really big thing. We're really excited that they are continuing on."
Brown isn't the only local student traveling to Pittsburgh to compete in the international science fair.
Grace Sexton is a ninth grader at Hope Christian School in Sulphur. She will be presenting her project on the use of ryegrass in papermaking at the fair.