Wednesday, the long-awaited day of judging, started early, with a buzz of excitement in the air. After a quick breakfast at 7, we all headed off to the convention center, eager to show off our projects and innovations. Mrs. Frattalone, our chaperone, handed each of us a small bag filled with snacks as a good-luck charm for the day to come. Upon reaching the exhibition floor, we quickly dispersed to our designated locations, where we barely had time to rehearse our speeches one final time before being approached by judges from a myriad of scientific backgrounds.
After a hectic few hours of presentations, we regrouped at noon outside the convention center (which was thronged with crowds of supportive onlookers) and took a quick break for lunch. Recharged and re-energized, we then returned back to our exhibitions for another round of judging. During this process, we had the chance to explain our ideas to esteemed scientists, researchers, and professors from a multitude of organizations, ranging from the local (Arizona State University) to the prestigious (a small group of military officers).
For some, the process was an intimidating one; for others, it was an easy opportunity to relay their research to esteemed experts. But the one thing which every one of us had in common was a great sense of accomplishment for having successfully made it this far. Finally, after the second round of judging had ended, we had finished the last round of Grand Awards judging – but the Special Awards judges still had yet to come. The next period varied greatly between different people; some were visited by very few experts, while others had a multitude of judges peruse their projects.
Subsequent to this period, we were released to chat about our experiences and decompress for a while before returning to the convention center for a night of entertainment. The convoluted name of the variety show which we were treated to promised an eventful experience, a promise which it certainly lived up to. The acts included a hula-hooping Einstein impersonator, an awe-inspiring contortionist, and a self-described “nerd clown” who demonstrated the physics of fire-eating. By the end of the program, everyone in the audience had been amazed by the fantastic feats demonstrated onstage – a perfect ending to an eventful and hectic day.
Greenwich High School