STEAM Fair connects students with science and art

San Benito County Office of Education hosts showcase of exhibits and demonstrations from grades four through eight.
Science projects lined up in the Veterans Memorial Building. Photo by Carmel de Bertaut.
Winner Mira Dutton with parents Brian and Melissa Dutton. Photo by Carmel de Bertaut.
Levi and Luke Garenas talk with fifth grade science teacher Ken Johnson. Photo by Carmel de Bertaut.
San Benito High School Robotics Team. Photo by Carmel de Bertaut.

Local students packed the Veterans Memorial Building in downtown Hollister on March 21 for the San Benito County Office of Education’s STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) Fair.

Colleen Myers, coordinator of instructional support services for the office of education, said the event was important “to bring the community together and showcasing the talent we have in San Benito County.”

Poster boards displayed science projects from grades four through eight, with subjects including environmental science, earth science, zoology, botany, behavior/psychology and microbiology. Participants followed the scientific method and all poster boards laid out the steps as they were taken: observation, question, hypothesis, experiment, results and conclusion.

Eight schools took part in the fair: the Accelerated Achievement Academy (AAA), Cerra Vista Elementary School, Sunnyslope Elementary School, Aromas School, San Juan School, Bitterwater-Tully School District, Sacred Heart School and Spring Grove School.

Winners include:

  • Joanna Abellera (AAA) – Physical Science
  • Blake Abercrombie (Spring Grove) – Physical Science
  • Rasmeet Brar (AAA) – Botany
  • Zander Brister (Spring Grove) – Physical Science
  • Leslie Cruz (Aromas School) – Microbiology
  • Mira Dutton (AAA) – Physical Science
  • Adrian Garcia (AAA) – Microbiology
  • Rachel Garcia (Bitterwater/Tully) – Earth Science
  • Leeza Gatson (AAA) – Zoology
  • Tomas Gomez (Sacred Heart) – Behavior/Psychology
  • Hunter Huck (Sunnyslope) – Physical Science
  • Marea Ito (Sacred Heart) – Environmental Science
  • Carlee Mayo (Sunnyslope) – Zoology
  • Brady Reynolds (Cerra Vista) – Environmental Science
  • Diego San Miguel (Cerra Vista) – Botany
  • Anthony Silva (Sacred Heart) – Behavior/Psychology
  • Chanel Venter (Sacred Heart) – Earth Science

Accelerated Achievement Academy fourth-grader Mira Dutton, who won the physical science entry for connecting potatoes together to power a light, said she felt great about her win. Her mother Melissa Dutton expressed how proud she was of her daughter.

The San Benito High School Robotics Team participated in the event and showed their robot onstage throughout the afternoon. The robot was programmed to pick up an object from one place and put it in another.

Team Coach and SBHS Engineering and Leadership teacher Thien Vu-Nguyen has seen the team members grow in the last year.

“They learn from each other and have learned to network with other schools,” he said.

Winners will go forward to the state science fair in Los Angeles on April 29 and 30.


Carmel de Bertaut

Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces. Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker. She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018 and covers Science and the Environment and Arts and Culture.