Story by Sgt. 1st Class Lyndon Miller, 412th Theater Engineer Command
VICKSBURG, Miss. - Four soldiers from the 412th Theater Engineer Command served as volunteer judges for local elementary school students at the annual Vicksburg -Warren School District science fair held at the Vicksburg Auditorium Feb. 25-26, 2013.
Capt. Aaron B. House and Master Sgt. Bradley M. Haley judged fourth through sixth grade students the first day. Capt. William G. Irwin and Master Sgt. Duane M. Emerson judged first through third grade students the second day.
What impressed Irwin about the fair was that some of the displays were educational for himself.
“I learned something at the fair, even as a college graduate,” Irwin said. “Never understand estimate the power of a child to teach a grown up.”
Before Emerson jumped into the role of an evaluator, his first approach to a student was personal.
“It wasn’t just about their project,” he said, “I dealt with them as a person. I asked them what they wanted to be in life, hoping to break the ice.”
Emerson could see the nervousness on some of the faces.
“I wanted to put myself in their shoes,” he said, “and show consideration for their feelings and try to make them comfortable.”
The 412th TEC sponsored the top award given to the winner of the second day’s competition.
Emerson presented the trophy to Karys Creel, a third grader from Beachwood Elementary School.
Creel’s science project was titled "Open Wide, My Little Puppy." She set out to determine which mouth was cleaner, a dog’s mouth, or a human’s. The dog’s mouth won. The evidence produced from her research led to the conclusion that a dog’s mouth has fewer germs.
In keeping with the spirit of the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child,” Emerson said regarding the students present at the fair, “it’s not just biological, they are my kids, at least, while I’m there.”
The more we pour into them now, the better our future will be, he said.