Aquebogue Elementary School science fair features new “Junior Scientists” club 

Gummy bears that grow, Peeps that melt and a “better battery battle” were among the award-winning science projects at the 2023 science fair at Aquebogue Elementary School.

This year’s science fair — which took place last Wednesday afternoon — was slightly different than previous years’ fairs for two main reasons.

This year’s fair included participants from both the school’s new Junior Scientists club and visitors from Riverhead High School’s Science Olympiad program, according to assistant principal Gary Karlson. 

The older students entertained the younger, would-be scientists by making handmade lava lamps and making clay with household ingredients like cooking oil and food dye. Members of the Olympiad team also walked through the fair checking out the projects and leaving encouraging notes on participating students’ projects.

“We collaborated this year to start a Junior Scientists club as one of our after-school programs to try to really increase participation and really engage students that had an interest, but wanted to be supported by the school,” Mr. Karlson said, adding that the scientists club was launched last December. 

The club joins the broad roster of Aquebogue Elementary School’s after-school enrichment program, which also includes, among others, violin, ukulele, chess, indoor soccer and theater.

Mr. Karlson said the program was originally limited to a dozen students, but it’s been expanded to accommodate 14 participants, who have been meeting weekly this year. 

Mr.Karlson said that roughly 10% of more than 450 students at the school participated in the science fair, while a full half of the Junior Scientists club took part in this year’s science fair.

“To know that 50% of the club students felt empowered to do a project outside of school — that tells us that there is something there that we have to continue to support.”

Ten students from the Riverhead High School Science Olympiad program attended the science fair, Mr. Karlson said. 

The Science Olympiads program advisor — physics and science research teacher Riley McHugh — said the invitation for the club to participate in the science fair this year was very meaningful to them.

“It means a lot because it’s giving back to the younger kids in the community, showing them what some of the older kids can do in science and showing them how cool science is,” he said. “These are kids who dedicate a lot to science, so it means a lot to give back and to show them how important science is.”

Olympiad team president and class of 2023 salutatorian Jennifer Alonzo Moreno said she hopes her club’s presence at the fair inspires the younger generation to be involved.

“It shows that we really like to be involved in our community and it shows that we really want to be out there and be available for the younger kids too,” Ms. Alonzo Moreno said. “Hopefully they can see this as a potential future in joining the club and joining other types of clubs similar to this, as long as it piques their interests,” she said.

The winners of the Aquebogue science fair are:


First place: William Hale  

Second place: Mason Smith 

Third place: Elias Reither 

First Grade

First place: James Sanders 

Second place: Gabriella Falcetta  

Third place was a three-way tie between Lena Fox, Mylah Zecena and Analee Huret Huertas.

Second grade

Kylie Shields won first place 

Marilla Pendelton won second place 

Joanna Kosinski won third place 

Third Grade

First place: Konstantina Panagopoulos

Second place: Violet Zaleski 

Third place was a tie between Alfredo Carrizal De Jesus and Sofia Martyniv.

Fourth grade

First place: Connor MacLeod 

Second place: Ryan Shields 

Third place was a three-way tie between Abigale Hale, Niko Panagopoulos and Savannah Kramer.