Memorial Park Students Take on World Hunger - April 26, 2012
A team of Memorial Park Middle School students is one of four national finalists in the eCYBERMISSION competition for their efforts to address famine in Kenya. The four students are working to find a better way to grow amaranth, which can be harvested as a highly nutritious grain or vegetable. Amaranth has been grown in Kenya for at least 20 years using only animal manure as an additive. The Memorial Park students examined seven different ways to grow the plant with the most successful being a combination of bio stimulants and cow manure. On Friday, April 27, the students will meet with a representative from Kenya to determine if farmers there could experiment with the bio stimulants. The team has already met with a representative of Africa University in Zimbabwe, who is eager to continue the research in the school's agriculture department. This project has great potential for helping overcome the famine problems around the world, said Larry Lesh, the team's advisor. Working with representatives from Africa is a great way to advance the bio stimulants research started by these eighth-graders in Fort Wayne, Indiana. For reaching the national finals in the eCYBERMISSION competition, each team member receives $1,500. The U.S. Army sponsors eCYBERMISSION, which is a web-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition for students in grades six through nine. The team will travel to Washington, D.C., in June for the final competition. In addition, the team is a semi-finalist for the Christopher Columbus Award, a national, community-based STEM program for middle school students sponsored by the Christopher Columbus Foundation. The team is one of 30 semi-finalists and will find out Friday if they are a finalist. If so, they will be invited to travel to Disney World in June as well.