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Social Studies Fair kicks off today

by Jennifer Biller

STAFF WRITER

BRIDGEPORT -- It's not often you'll find information about the Korean War, the Salem witch trials and the Beatles all in the same place.

But today, visitors to the Meadowbrook Mall in Bridgeport can learn about all of those topics and hundreds more, as students display their projects for the 16th annual Harrison County Social Studies Fair.

On Monday, 354 students from grades four through 12 gave brief explanations and answered judges' questions as they competed at the county contest.

The students had previously won at their school competitions in anthropology, psychology, economics, geography, sociology, United States history, local/state history, political science and world history.

"I'm amazed at the depth of their knowledge," said judge Mary Lee Hines. "They have such a remarkable enthusiasm and you can tell they're interested in what they're doing."

Brittani Bland and Cheryl Reider, eighth graders at Gore Middle School, were surprised at how much they learned while preparing their project.

Their exhibit focused on the effect of television on young children. They did surveys in the community and other research to conclude that television plays a significant role in shaping young minds.

"We learned the average household has three or more TVs, the average kid watches TV more than four hours a day and on a survey of 20 kids, only six said their parents monitored what they watched," Reider said.

Notre Dame eighth-grade students Elizabeth Morrison and Hannah Galey came dressed in Egyptian and Viking costumes to coordinate with the theme of their exhibit on the burial rites of both cultures.

The two have been competing at the fair since the fourth grade.

"It's a lot of fun and a lot of kids at our school get involved," Morrison said. "Last year, eight out of a class of 24 went to Charleston for the state competition."

The fair wraps up at 6 p.m. today with an awards ceremony at the mall. The 63 winners will be announced and will go on to compete at the state level in Charleston on May 11 and 12, said Vicki Huffman, county coordinator of the event.

Staff writer Jennifer Biller can be reached at 626-1449 or jbiller@exponent-telegram.com.

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