Governor's School students working on cutting edge research projects

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - High School students are working on cutting edge research in Roanoke.

Flies, plants and robotics are just some of the test subjects being used as high school students work on intense research projects at the Roanoke Valley Governor's School.

Senior Kelly Devens works on her research project.
Senior Kelly Devens works on her research project.

"Kudzu's an invasive species and there's really no use for it so making a plastic out of it would be pretty beneficial," said John Gardner, a Patrick Henry High School senior who is testing the strength of plastic. "We are taking starch from kudzu and starch from corn and we are trying to make a biofilm."

"I am working with piezo electric crystals which basically convert mechanical energy into electrical energy," said Kelly Devens, a Glenvar High School senior who is working to convert rain water into electricity. "My end goal is to be able to integrate it into downspout system, houses and other water run off systems."

About 270 students from seven different school districts go to school here at the Governor's School.

"It's really nice for them to be able to have this break and this time to go in depth and just study one idea that really go and look at it at the very deep levels," said Cindy Bohland, the science department chair.

Bohland said the three week projects are like teaching twenty different classes at the same time and even learns things trying to keep up.

"The students who are so motivated and so smart really need to be challenged and by challenging them and giving them these experiences there getting a head start on their academic career," said Bohland.

"I like it better than my home school and without it high school wouldn't have been as beneficial," said Gardner.

The students will present their projects at the science fair later this month for cash prizes and the chance to go to the international science fair.

A diverse and accomplished panel of over 60 judges will evaluate the projects and determine scores based on strength of presentation, comprehension of subject matter, and depth of research. Cash prizes will be awarded to outstanding participants, and the top-placing students will have the opportunity to advance to a variety of local, regional, state, and international science fair competitions.

Over 100 Governor's School parents, local businesses, and community supporters have donated items, services, and cash for Project Forum's Silent Auction and the school's Annual Appeal.

Public viewing of the student research projects will be January 30, from 1:30-3:00 p.m. in the Patrick Henry High School cafeteria in Roanoke. The awards presentation will follow at 3:30 p.m. in the Patrick Henry High School auditorium. Silent Auction live bidding will take place from 12:45-3:00 p.m. in the school library.

All events are free and open to the public.