In a school with a short history, the Portage County-Randolph Fair is quickly becoming a tradition.
For the second consecutive year, freshmen at the Bio-Med Science Academy spent their week at the fair, just as last year's freshman class did. Those students, now sophomores, joined them, performing more advanced tasks.
The move was made partly to accomodate about 15 students at Bio-Med who are showing animals in the fair, director Stephanie Lammlein said.
The fair was turned into a classroom, where students scurried around the grounds doing biology research and doing exercises for language arts, history and engineering.
While freshmen were mostly in the dark about their assignments, learning about them only at the beginning of each day, sophomores had graduated into full-blown problem solving.
"The problem we're trying to solve is that when people come to the fair, like our generation, they go to the rides and the fried food," said Sean Fejes, a native of the Crestwood district. "We want them to go more towards the animals and the crafts."
To solve that problem, the sophomores came up with three ideas.
The first is a "history hunt" led by sophomore Jessica White of Waterloo. One of the activities was interviewing a leader with the Town Trotters, the oldest 4-H group in the fair.
The second, Fejes said, is Aurasma, a smart phone application with links to videos with information on the fair. He and Iris Murphy are leading that group.
Aaron Hluch of Rootstown and Sonnie Sauvinsky, whose home school is St. Patrick School in Kent, are leading a shop locally movement. The students explained that they wanted to establish a farmer's market, but there wasn't time to set up, so for now, the group is focusing on encouraging local shopping, hoping to implement the program next year.
Sophomores also are busy building cages for the Cuyahoga National Park system, which hopes to use them in its research involving the trillium flower and the local deer population.
"The sophomores are all about giving back to those who gave to us last year," Lammlein said.
Freshmen, meanwhile, were scurrying about, interviewing 4-H club members and doing research, as last year's freshman had done. After an interview in the swine barn, freshmen McKinley Whipkey of West Branch, Abby Krukemeyer of Tallmadge, Natalie Hopp of Randolph and Nina Pagliari of Ravenna chatted about their findings.
The students said they were focused on basic questions, such as how old the animals are, their life span and what they eat.
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