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Memorial Junior High holds pep rally for regional science fair winners

LANSING, Ill. (May 6, 2024) – District 158’s twelve regional science fair winners from Memorial Junior High School were celebrated on May 3 for their advancement to the Illinois Junior Academy of Science State Science Fair. 

The students were chosen out of 21 who competed in the regional science fair at North Central College on March 16. 

District 158 administrators, MJHS staff, students, and parents came to celebrate the science scholar’s accomplishment. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Making history at District 158

District 158 Superintendent Dr. Nathan Schilling says the district hosts one of the longest-running area science fairs in the state and continues to produce numerous regional and state science fair qualifiers. 

The district made history as it sent off its largest group of state science fair qualifiers to date.  

“We had 127 students participate in the science fair and from that, 21 were invited to regionals, and a record 12 qualified for state, that is history right there,” he said. 

Science scholars send-off

District 158 administrators, MJHS staff, students, and parents came to give the students a warm send-off on Friday morning. 

“Today is a time of celebration as we cheer on our mighty Mustang scholars as they prepare to share their intellectual and greatness as young scientists,” said Memorial Principal Dr. Keli Ross.

The MJHS band played celebratory selections under the direction of District 158 Director of Bands Mathew Becker. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

The 30-minute pep rally took place in the gym at Memorial with selections from the MJHS band and a performance by the mighty Mustang cheerleaders. 

The MHJS cheerleaders performed a cheer at the celebration. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Dr. Dave Kostopoulos, Director of Curriculum and Instruction at District 158, read an encouraging letter on behalf of Lansing Mayor Patty Eidam to this year’s state science fair qualifiers. 

“Today I am sending my hearty congratulations to the twelve Memorial Junior High Students that are traveling to the state science fair. You twelve are truly our stars of tomorrow as you will not only be representing your fellow students along with your teachers and school District 158 but also the Village of Lansing. I am so very proud of you. I hope each of you enjoys this amazing experience and that you find new friendships and inspiration for your future. Wishing you safe travels and success,” Mayor Eidam’s letter said.

School Board Vice-President Denise Jones Williams also provided the scholars with words of encouragement and read a quote from scientist George Washington Carver.

“[Carver] said ‘Start where you are with what you have, make something and never be satisfied’ and I think those are good words for you to take on to your future endeavors,” she said. 

This year’s regional state science fair winners were the first to receive a special gift from the district. During the rally, officials held a coating ceremony to present the students with their very own lab coats. 

The gym was filled with cheers and applause as the scholars were called up to receive their coats. 

The full list of students and projects going to the state science fair is below:

  • Anay Aleman
    • How does music affect the heart rates of cats?
  • Jocelyn Snell & Cidney Parker
    • How is a person’s reaction time related to the Stroop Effect?
  • Jailene Cruz & Leylah Jackson
    • Are household chemicals as bad for plants as people say they are?
  • Esmeralda Flores & Arianna Sanchez
    • How do different liquids affect the cleanliness of a penny?
  • Fernando Hernandez Vilchis: The Sticky Debate
    • How does different types of glue affect the strength of a wood bridge?
  • Sydney Keys & Kenzee Stahl: The Mandela Effect
    • How people share the same false memories.
  • Sofia Gonzalez & Bella Palevino
    • How does the weight of a ball affect the height of its bounce?

The state science fair was held at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois on May 3 and 4. 

Memorial Jr. High is located at 2721 Ridge Road in Lansing.


Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan brings local experience and a long list of journalism skills to her work with The Lansing Journal. She understands the need for reliable, factual information in equipping people to build community. An Audio News internship with WBEZ honed her interviewing skills and her sense of timing and deadlines. A native of Calumet City, Kinise is familiar with the interplay of local government, local schools, and local businesses.


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