Black Butte School students showed their prowess in statewide academic competition. photo by Diane Goble
Black Butte School students showed their prowess in statewide academic competition. photo by Diane Goble

Several students from Ethan Barron's upper-grade class at Black Butte School have been recognized in statewide competitions for their outstanding achievements.

Kincaid Smeltzer, a 14-year-old eighth-grader, won an award for the best project demonstrating the use of water-quality principles from the U.S. Geological Survey, Oregon Water Science Center-Stream Health.

His project involved testing sediment samples downstream after the removal of a culvert in Indian Ford Creek. The water had been diverted through a large metal pipe and covered with dirt so roads could be built over the streambeds. Some of these are in the process of being removed, making them available for testing stream recovery downstream.

Smeltzer got to work alongside Derrick Staab, project manager for the Upper Deschutes Home River Initiative; and Nat Dachetler, a fisheries biologist, and says he learned a lot about rivers and fish from them.

Sixth-grader Skylar Wilkins, who is 12 years old, entered an essay competition created by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) winning first place among all of Oregon's middle schools.

Walker's essay in SIFMA's InvestWrite national competition is titled "Why Nike is a Good Long-Term Investment." She states that over the years, the stock has been continually going up although the line looks "more like a drunken mouse running for some cheese while holding a crayon."

She learned quite a bit about the stock market, but winning the essay competition surprised her because, she said, "It's not usually my thing. I play all kinds of sports - soccer, basketball, lacrosse, rock climbing, skiing."

Christopher Lundgren and Conner Petke, both sixth-graders, 12 and 11 years old, worked together on their project to test rocket nosecone designs to determine which rose the highest and was the most stable. The parabola came out on top and their project earned them the Outstanding Science or Engineering Project awarded by a U.S. Air Force program.

Last year the boys tested rocket fins in different configurations for trajectory and stability; next year they will add more power and look at the effects on stability in flight. Lundgren's favorite part was launching the rockets. Petke liked making the nosecones.