14-year-old wasting no time in rise to the top

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 27, 2006

She’s only 14 years old, but she has already been named the grand prize winner of the Alabama State Science Fair two times, and yesterday Rebecca England added another trophy to the display case at Demopolis Middle School.

In the presence of her parents, Dan and Elaine England, principal Clarence Jackson, current science teacher Lil Emory, chairman of the Demopolis Board of Education Gary Holeman, and most intimidating of them all, her fellow peers, England described her concept and awards in the DMS cafeteria.

“It seems like it was just yesterday when she won the first one,” Jackson said proud to add another one of England’s prizes to the school’s trophy case.

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Her first time in the contest was two years ago, when England used the stars to prove there isn’t exactly 24 hours in a day.

This time, after taking a year off from the science fair circuit, the eight grader used the sun to determine how and why four seasons exist in different locations of the Earth at different moments in her project, “Equinox to Equinox: The Reason for the Seasons.”

After two days of examining the position of the sun by measuring angles and altitudes, England said it took her about a week to compile findings, complete calculations, determine the equinoxes and solstices, and put everything together. But England didn’t loathe her heavy workload, in fact, she enjoyed it.

“Earth and space science really interests me,” she said with a smile. “I think it’s a lot of fun.”

And her fun times paid off when England took home fourth place in the physical science category, a trophy and award from Boeing Co. for the “most innovative concept,” a special award from the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center, all-expenses paid tuition for one week at the Space Academy, and the grand prize award for overall winner in the junior division in the Huntsville competition.

England would’ve been well on her way to the international competition, her mother said, if she were just another year older, but her parents are equally proud of their daughter’s achievements.

“This is the second time she’s won the grand prize, but it’s hard to win just one time at that level,” her mother Elaine said, “We’re going to try to keep it going because we are really proud of her. Most kids aren’t interested in this kind of stuff and as such a young lady, she’s already won twice.”

“I am very proud of Rebecca,” her father Dan added. “She worked very hard to achieve this.”

Emory, England’s current physical science teacher said she couldn’t be happier and more proud of her student’s accomplishments.

“You can see great things coming from her,” Emory said with a grin. “It’s hard to get such a great award once, much less get it twice.”

As long as Holeman and Jackson don’t find a way to make DMS continue to the ninth grade, as they joked in order to keep England there another year, she will enter Demopolis High, where she plans to continue science fair competitions.

And even though she doesn’t know what she’ll be doing 10 years from now, the two-time winner plans to attend the University of West Alabama or the University of Alabama while continuing to prove the facts in the world of earth and space science.