Since 1958, Kiwanians pledge science fair support

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An event could not have a better partner than the Fort Myers, Kiwanis. Beginning in 1958 this civic organization and 501(c) (3) has actively supported the regional science and engineering fair held annually in Southwest Florida.  In the mid-1990s, the Kiwanis joined Lee County Public Schools, the Edison Festival of Light, the Edison Innovators Association and Sony Electronics, Inc. in forming the Thomas A. Edison Regional Science and Inventors Fair steering committee. The Kiwanis have served on the steering committee uninterrupted since its founding and have directed the judging process at the regional science fair. Under the steady leadership of the Kiwanis and its unsparing generosity, the regional event has grown and flourished.

“The Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Regional Science and Engineering Fair” title recognizes the ongoing contribution of the Kiwanis. The organization has spent countless volunteer hours before and during the event selling raffle tickets and refreshments to pay for the 20 to 30 students from the regional fair to attend the State Science Fair and 4 to 6 students to go to the International Science Fair.  The approximate $20,000 they spend for transportation and lodging at these advance competitions relieves local school boards (and taxpayers) and private schools (and parents) of this financial burden.

The Fort Myers Kiwanis, in partnership with other Kiwanis Clubs in the Lee County, Florida area, provide scores of well-qualified judges and volunteers to the Kiwanis Science and Engineering Fair and to the Edison Festival of Light Regional Inventors Fair, held on the same day as the science fair. The Kiwanis also are a vital force for the Kiwanis Awards Ceremony that follows each year’s fair.

Hundreds of public, private and home-schooled middle and high students in Lee and Charlotte Counties participate annually, enabling well over 10,000 Southwest Florida aspiring scientists and engineers to compete in world-class science fairs.

Over the last 5 years, 70% of those advancing from the Kiwanis Science Fair to the Florida State Science Fair have received recognition at the state-wide event in either Category Awards or Special Awards; the envy of regional science fairs across Florida. A recent finalist at the State Science fair from the Kiwanis Science Fair was selected as Best in Fair. These accolades are an accurate measure of the quality of the Kiwanis’ good work.  The Southwest Florida community is encouraged to congratulate the Kiwanis on its success and celebrate the devotion Kiwanians show in developing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skills with our youth.

Authored by Jim Helms, Communication/Outreach Chair, Thomas A. Edison Regional Science and Inventors Fair Steering Committee

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