Aspiring Scientists Create More With Less

The competitions in the annual Winston Science competition includes those involving cardboard armor, above, and duct tape. (Photos: Chris McGathey)
The competitions in the annual Winston Science competition includes those involving cardboard armor and duct tape. (Photos: Don Johnson)

Angela Jamison had an affinity for her innovations made from of duct tape, from clothes to accessories to household items.

After she died suddenly in 2012, during the summer prior to her seventh-grade year at the Winston School, that legacy was preserved when the campus introduced the Angela Jamison Duct Tape Competition as part of its annual Winston Science competition.

The event, which the school has hosted for more than 20 years, includes at least 30 categories during a week of festivities that attracts hundreds of students from throughout the area ranging from elementary to high school.

The competitions range from the typical to the downright wacky. While the duct-tape event has become one of the most popular, Winston Science also awards prizes for cardboard armor, edible cars, and launchable catapults, among others.

“All of these competitions are tied into the curriculum,” said Jennifer Stewart, a Winston parent volunteer and co-coordinator of the events. “Every year we have different competitions to keep it exciting.”

Some of the duct-tape hopefuls were dressed head-to-toe in their creations, while others made purses or shoes. Patrick Kuzmick, a seventh-grader at Dealey Montessori School, said it took a week to craft a replica of the biker jacket worn by Peter Fonda in the 1969 movie Easy Rider. It’s wearable, too, if not exactly comfortable.

“I like jackets, and I wear them all the time. this is like a historical jacket,” said Patrick, who has watched the movie with his family. “I thought it would be fun and really help my grade in science.”

Another student trying to evoke a bygone fashion era was Alec McAllister, an eighth-grader at St. Luke Catholic School in Irving, who made a golden pair of Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers, complete with laces and soles. His reasoning was more practical than pretty.

“A lot of people end up stepping in a puddle and getting their shoes wet,” Alec said. “I wanted to take the popular brands and make them waterproof.”

Angela’s father, James Jamison, is a judge and photographer for the duct-tape competition who said he’s always impressed with the level of creativity on display.

“She was big on projects with duct tape,” he said. “It’s really a tribute to her. It keeps her memory alive.”

Most of the competitions are structured so that entrants don’t need an abundance of money or resources. The winners in each age group take home ribbons and medals, but the bigger goal is to provide a hands-on method of teaching critical-thinking skills.

“It’s very empowering in terms of helping them to express their individuality and share their skills,” said Rebbie Evans, Winston head of school. “They really get those skills to problem-solve. Our kids all learn that process.”

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