From Rockets to Robots, Curiosity Shines at Science Fair
By Erin Pant
Eighty-six student scientists spent their spring designing, conducting, and analyzing experiments. Led by parent volunteer Mrs. McAndrew-Benavides, a new science fair model was introduced at Saint Peter’s this year.
In March, students had the opportunity to sign-up for the voluntary activity and choose their project topics. Students could work individually or with a partner. Work took place outside of normal school hours. Weekly instructions, reminders, and resources were sent to assist students throughout their projects.
“It was a great learning experience where everything wasn’t directed by certain guidelines or instructions, you were free to experiment and figure things out on your own and make your own deductions,” said eighth grader Marin Cobo who investigated Cone Analysis for Rocket Height Optimization.
Students representing every grade from pre-kindergarten through eighth, presented their findings at the Science Fair on Friday, April 21. For students in PreK-5, the Science Fair was a non-competitive opportunity. For students in grades 6-8, “Best in Category” awards, such as Best Research Project, Best Experiment, Best Demonstration, and Crowd Pleaser, were presented. Judges included science professionals, local high school teachers, and community members.
“Our students showed off how curious, creative, and courageous they are. I loved hearing them talk about their investigations!” said middle-school science teacher Mrs. Caldeira.
Fourth Grader Charlotte Scango’s project explored whether fruit could produce power to light a light bulb. “No matter how old you are you can find a project that works for you,” Scango said, “It was fun walking around learning about things, especially from the little kids.”
Project topics represented a diverse array of scientific fields including aerospace, biology, biomedical, chemistry, computer science, engineering, food science, geology, kinesiology, power, and life science.
“Special thanks to all of the volunteers from the parish, local schools, and community who helped make this event happen,” said Mrs. McAndrew-Benavides. “I hope it’s the beginning of a new annual tradition.”
A Production Frozen in Time Finally has the Spotlight
By Tina Banks
As the auditorium fell to darkness, Natalie Avalos-Restrepo as Young Anna and Evelyn Pak as Young Elsa, lit up the stage in the Saint Peter’s School production of Frozen Jr. The talented student cast of 45 performers and 38 stage-crew members, led by Director Phyllis Bottegal, Music Director Peter Nguyen, and Producer Caley Gallagher, dazzled sold-out audiences as they transported them to the fictional land of Arendelle.
It was clear from the opening curtain the cast was bringing the production to life for not only this year’s hardworking actors and actresses, but those who laid the foundation for this amazing performance—the Frozen JR. 2020 cast. As the pandemic shut down the world, it impacted the 2020 production, forcing the cast to pass their magical powers onto another class. The 2023 performers let everything go as they dedicated their show to those performances forever frozen in time.
“It was amazing to finally see the play,” said Crystie Byrdy, mother of Michael and Matthew Byrdy, 2020 and 2023 cast members, respectively. “I remember how hard Michael worked and his excitement to be in the 2020 production. I never got to see Michael as Hans, but seeing Matthew, Michael’s younger brother, in the same costume Michael would have worn was just so special. I cried during the tribute as the production for both of them finally had the spotlight.”
In Frozen, Take 2, the Drama Club’s 23rd year of performances, the cast was worth melting over. As the young princesses transformed into their older versions, Nora Babu as Anna and Demi Storms as Elsa, they filled the theater with amazing vocals, making the audience forget they were watching a middle-school performance. Supporting cast members—Georgio Alarcon Sardelis as Kristoff, George Glekas as Olaf, Nick Barczy as Weslton and Matthew Byrdy as Hans—performed scenes with confidence, making the audience feel every emotion and filling the auditorium with laughter and even some tears.
“It is great to see the children start off not knowing what is ahead, and then they evolve into
characters,” said Director Phyllis Bottegal. “It’s wonderful to see them step on the stage and see their own hard work and confidence that they develop. It’s important for us to teach them how to work with one another, meet new friends, and become a family.”
Congratulations to the Frozen Jr. family who are forever bonded through hard work and adversity!