First Time’s a Charm for Northeast Middle School Students in Local Science Competition


In their first year at the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair, Northeast Middle School Students walked away with four top three finishes in their respective categories. Including, a first place gold award and a chance to participate in the national Broadcom Masters Competition in Washington, D.C. 

Eight Northeast Middle School Students took part in the competition on Thursday, April 6 at Union Station. Guided by Science teachers Terrie Buckmaster and Haley Summerhill, students presented five different science experiences to judges.

“We wanted to encourage the girls throughout the entire process. Even if it’s wrong, it’s not wrong—that’s science.” Buckmaster said. 

Duo Kalaesha Walker and Evan Bratcher.

Mackenzie Chester, Julianna Silva, and Trania Thomas (pictured above) took first place in the Energy & Environmental Engineering category with their “What a Re-Leaf Pencil” experiment. The group of students created completely functional pencils from ground up leafs and natural materials. 

Duo Kalaesha Walker and Evan Bratcher earned silver with their project testing the benefits of chewing gum when it comes to test-taking. Their “Gum Chewing vs. Memory” experiment tested several different flavors and found that watermelon seemed to have the most beneficial effects. 

Student Elizabeth Jones won Silver for her “Maze Runner” experiment.

Elizabeth Jones (Silver), Sicily Cusamano (Bronze) and Andrea Martinez (Bronze) presented individual experiments. In “Maze Runner” Jones studied the memory spans of rats by incentivizing them with different types of food. Jones’ experiment earned her the Linda Hall Library Special Award.  Cusamano compared the growth between plants with water and plants with vitamins in her project entitled “Prenatal Plant Vitamins” and Martinez analyzed the sound waves of Dolphins in “Dolphin Sound Waves.”

Student Sicily Cusamano and her “Prenatal Plant Vitamins” experiment.

Vice Principal Dawn Phillips-Simons expressed her pride in the accomplishment and dedication of her students. 

“This group of students really exemplifies what a scholar looks like at Northeast Middle School.” Phillips-Simons said. 

For a complete list of winners and more information on the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair, visit