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Volunteers test Ellicott students' experiments

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Catanese, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron, and Master Sgt. Shawn Stepanek, 7th Space Operations Squadron, grade an Ellicott Elementary school science experiment at the Ellicott science fair May 14, 2015, in Ellicott, Colo. More than a dozen Schriever members volunteered to judge the science fair for the school as part of a community involvement and outreach program. (U.S. Air Force photo| Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Catanese, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron, and Master Sgt. Shawn Stepanek, 7th Space Operations Squadron, grade an Ellicott Elementary school science experiment at the Ellicott science fair May 14, 2015, in Ellicott, Colo. More than a dozen Schriever members volunteered to judge the science fair for the school as part of a community involvement and outreach program. (U.S. Air Force photo| Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

Dru Hartzog and her friend Christa Davis, 3rd grade Ellicott elementary school students, stand in front of their science experiments during the Ellicott science fair May 14,2015, at Ellicott Elementary School, Colo. More than a dozen Schriever members volunteered to judge the science fair for the school as part of a community involvement and outreach program. (U.S. Air Force photo| Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

Dru Hartzog and her friend Christa Davis, 3rd grade Ellicott elementary school students, stand in front of their science experiments during the Ellicott science fair May 14,2015, at Ellicott Elementary School, Colo. More than a dozen Schriever members volunteered to judge the science fair for the school as part of a community involvement and outreach program. (U.S. Air Force photo| Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

Schriever Air Force Base volunteers serve as judges during the Ellicott science fair May 14, 2015, at Ellicott Elementary School, Colo. More than a dozen Schriever members volunteered to judge the science fair for the school as part of a community involvement and outreach program. (U.S. Air Force photo| Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

Schriever Air Force Base volunteers serve as judges during the Ellicott science fair May 14, 2015, at Ellicott Elementary School, Colo. More than a dozen Schriever members volunteered to judge the science fair for the school as part of a community involvement and outreach program. (U.S. Air Force photo| Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Dozens of six, seven and eight-year old Ellicott Elementary School students eagerly waited to demonstrate their science fair experiments to military personnel during their annual science fair May 14, in Elicott, Colorado.

Schriever members volunteered to judge the Ellicott Elementary School science fair as part of a community outreach and involvement program. Nearly 100 students brought their poster boards and science experiment accoutrements to school to demonstrate their knowledge of the scientific method. 

"We've been looking forward to this since I signed up three months ago," said Staff Sgt. Salvatore Catanese, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron.

Salvatore was one of 15 volunteers who witnessed the students' dedication and creativity.

The experiments varied anywhere from inflating a balloon with baking soda to conducting electricity through fruits and vegetables.

"I've seen some pretty bright kids today," said Catanese. "Some of the questions they developed are things I've never [considered]."

He said one student wanted to find out if you could re-grow celery through the root of the vegetable and another student's experiment addressed how chicks get oxygen while inside an egg.

"In some ways I think the kids here are more advanced than I was at their age," he said.

One of those bright kids was Dru Hartzog, 3rd grade student. Her experiment involved the different phases of the moon.

She said she really wanted to learn about the moon because of its significant contribution to the world.

"Without the moon we'll have to stay up forever," said Hartzog.

She has a valid point. Catanese concurred and expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to spend some time out of his day enjoying the grinning children and their innovations.

"These experiences are really important," Catanese said. "The opportunity to be here as a representative of a professional organization, such as the Air Force, is an opportunity to serve as a role model."

Carrie Maly, Ellicott 3rd grade teacher, said she and her students were thankful for the Schriever participation.

"It's just amazing to see," she said. "The students were a little nervous, but they're having a blast."

Maly said the military is such a big part of the school.

"A lot of our students have military families," she said. "I'm so thankful."
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