Special education students unveil 140 science projects

Gilroy
– It was an event nine months in the making.
Last Thursday, the Gilroy High School Special Education
department unveiled their second annual science fair. Over the
course of two days, almost 2,000 spectators came to see the 140
projects lining the auxiliary gym.
Gilroy – It was an event nine months in the making.

Last Thursday, the Gilroy High School Special Education department unveiled their second annual science fair. Over the course of two days, almost 2,000 spectators came to see the 140 projects lining the auxiliary gym.

“I’m a dreamer, and it takes a large team to pull it off,” said special education science teacher Jeanie Romanoff. “This is an opportunity for these kids to be a shining star.”

Terrariums built of seashells and pebbles, bath sponges, and construction flowers create lifelike underwater scenes on the tables. Electric Ferris wheels and rollercoasters come to life at the slip of a switch.

“We do a lot of things to build self–esteem,” Romanoff said.

The science fair is noncompetitive and showcases the individual interests of the students.

How long until nail polish chips? How does the intensity of light affect the behavior of crickets? These are some of the questions the students undertook in the fall.

Romanoff developed the science fair to challenge students, and implemented it into their curriculum, which is aligned with state standards.

The special education department has students who are mentally retarded, physically disabled, and autistic. “Their aptitude, ability, and intelligence are just in different areas,” Romanoff explained. “There are too many days of ‘I can’t do this,’ … When you let them have success at their own level, the next success will be at a higher one.”

Romanoff described a very quiet student with engineering talent.

“You wait, and this is what happens,” she said pointing to a life–sized motorized go–cart.

He built it from scratch in a matter of days.

“I built it so I could race it,” Michael Avila said looking down. He became inspired when visiting the race track near his grandmother’s house on weekends. The vehicle can reach speeds of 45 mph, he said placing his hands on the wheel.

“Here, everybody wins,” Romanoff said.

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