Students earn science fair awards at HITS Expo

Students earn science fair awards at HITS Expo


Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) held its fifth annual History, Industry, Science and Technology (HITS) Expo March 7. The Expo includes the annual science and history fair student project displays for judging. Science fair awards are given in three competing divisions: senior division for high school students, junior division for middle school students and an elementary school division.

The following students received awards for their science fair projects. 

Senior Division 

First-place awards

  • Amanda Ihama, senior, North Point High School, cellular and molecular category;
  • Naseem Abujuma, senior, North Point, engineering: materials and bioengineering category; and
  • Richard Miller, senior, North Point, engineering: materials and bioengineering category.

Second-place awards

  • Yasmeen Adeleke, junior, North Point, engineering: electrical and mechanical category;
  • Autumn Potts, senior, North Point, medicine and health sciences category; and
  • Joelle Starling, senior, North Point, medicine and health sciences category.

Third-place awards

  • Jesu’ Jeush Mendoza, senior, North Point, medicine and health sciences category;
  • Clayton Groves, senior, Thomas Stone High School, behavioral and social sciences category; and
  • Brandon Pineda, senior, North Point, medicine and health sciences category.

Junior Division 

First-place awards

  • Travis Hoover, sixth grade, John Hanson Middle School, environmental management category;
  • Ethan Harris, sixth grade, Piccowaxen Middle School, energy and transportation category;
  • Ava Wehrs, seventh grade, St. Mary’s Bryantown, environmental sciences category;
  • Samala Savoy, sixth grade, St. Mary’s Bryantown, chemistry category;
  • Carleigh Watson, seventh grade, St. Mary’s Bryantown, plant sciences category; and
  • Jacob McKnew, eighth grade, St. Mary’s Bryantown, physics and astronomy category.

Second-place awards

  • Maya Williams, sixth grade, Theodore G. Davis Middle School, environmental management category;
  • Luna Garner, sixth grade, St. Mary’s Bryantown, environmental sciences category;
  • Taylor Ellis, seventh grade, Milton M. Somers Middle School, medicine and health sciences category;
  • Tyler Bailey, sixth grade, Hanson, chemistry category; and
  • Zachary McChesney, sixth grade, Piccowaxen, plant sciences category.

Third-place awards

  • Zaire House, sixth grade, Benjamin Stoddert Middle School, computer science category;
  • Janay Thomas, sixth grade, Hanson, environmental management category;
  • Jordyn Murphy, sixth grade, Matthew Henson Middle School, chemistry category; and
  • Carmine DeGraff, eighth grade, St. Mary’s Bryantown, physics and astronomy category.

Elementary Division 

First-place awards

  • David Ainerua, third grade, William A. Diggs Elementary School, engineering category;
  • Daniel Irwin, fifth grade, C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School, earth and planetary sciences category;
  • Ashlyn Lagana, fourth grade, T.C. Martin Elementary School, life science category;
  • Zoe Smithen, fourth grade, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School, chemistry category;
  • James McDonald, fourth grade, Martin, engineering category;
  • Isabella Chappell, third grade, Berry Elementary School, mathematical sciences category; and
  • Cason Specht, third grade, Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School, physics and astronomy category.

Second-place awards

  • Joshua Butson, fifth grade, Malcolm Elementary School, engineering category;
  • Sanai Arzu-Kelly, fifth grade, Mary B. Neal Elementary School, life science category;
  • Breanna Reese, fourth grade, Mitchell, chemistry category;
  • Samuel Cabrera, fourth grade, J.C. Parks Elementary School, engineering category;
  • Nathaniel Queen III, fifth grade, Mary H. Matula Elementary School, mathematical sciences category; and
  • Grant Petterson, fourth grade, Mitchell, physics and astronomy category.

Third-place awards

  • Jaison Easley-Jones, fifth grade, Neal, engineering category;
  • Kingsley Okoli, fourth grade, Diggs, life science category;
  • David Okoli, third grade, Diggs, chemistry category;
  • Hazel Kriebel, fourth grade, Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School, engineering category;
  • Caleb Dickerson, fifth grade, Diggs, mathematical sciences category; and
  • Vayda Deatley, fifth grade, Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School, physics and astronomy category.

Students were eligible for special awards. Below is a list of students who received a special award for their science fair project. 

Charles County Archaeological Society of Maryland, Inc.

  • David Aineura, third grade, Diggs.

College of Southern Maryland

  • Sophia McDonald, first grade, Martin, elementary level;
  • Ava Wehrs, seventh grade, St. Mary’s Bryantown, junior level; and
  • Amanda Ihama, senior, North Point, senior level.

International Council of Systems Engineering

  • Maya Williams, sixth grade, Davis, honorable mention;
  • Richard Miller, senior, North Point, honorable mention; and
  • Naseem Abujuma, senior, North Point, honorable mention.

La Plata Garden Club

  • Kingsley Okoli, fourth grade, Diggs, elementary level; and
  • Carleigh Watson, seventh grade, St. Mary’s Bryantown, junior level.

La Plata Lion’s Club

  • Emily Gragg, third grade, Billingsley Elementary School, first, elementary level; and
  • Sophia McDonald, first grade, Martin, second, elementary level.

Naval Science Awards Program

  • Christopher Baldwin, eighth grade, Hanson, junior award;
  • Jacob McKnew, eighth grade, St. Mary’s Bryantown, junior award; and
  • Amanda Ihama, senior, North Point, senior award.

The Patuxent Partnership

  • Yasmeen Adeleke, junior, North Point, electrical and electronics award;
  • Autumn Potts, senior, North Point, environmental and biology award;
  • Joelle Starling, senior, North Point, environmental and biology award;
  • Carmine DeGraff, eighth grade, St. Mary’s Bryantown, aeronautics and aerospace award; and
  • Ethan Harris, sixth grade, Piccowaxen, unmanned systems – chief engineer award.

Southern Maryland Audubon Society

  • Joshua Butson, fifth grade, Malcolm;
  • Jaison Easley-Jones, fifth grade, Neal; and
  • Halle Banks, fifth grade, Diggs.

Southern Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Board

  • Ava Wehrs, seventh grade, St. Mary’s Bryantown, first junior level;
  • Naseem Abujuma, senior, North Point, first senior level;
  • Richard Miller, senior, North Point, first senior level;
  • Luna Garner, sixth grade, St. Mary’s Bryantown, honorable mention; and
  • Jaison Easley-Jones, fifth grade, Neal, honorable mention.

Waste and Water Operators Association of Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C.

  • Amanda Ihama, senior, North Point, first junior level;
  • Richard Miller, senior, North Point, first senior level; and
  • Naseem Abujuma, senior, North Point, first senior level.

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,521 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event. 

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