Nerves before presentations

March 3, 2023


Aditi Bhaskar

Setting up for the fair takes a long time. Students set up their boards, logbooks, and research plans over the weekend in preparation for judging on Monday.

Students set up over the weekend– both Saturday and Sunday– for the fair. This meant posters, logbooks, research plans, abstracts, and props, lined up neatly on their booths. Chairs were under those tables at precise 45-degree angles. The whole exhibit hall was precise, methodical– just like research is.

Junior Ava Riddle says, “It was great to see all of the work my partner and I had put in finally come together.”

Setup was busy and a few seniors flitted around the gymnasium to run display and safety checks, clipboard in one hand and pass slips in another. After setting up their posters, students went home to practice their “elevator pitches”, which were 1-minute summaries of what they did, why they did it, and how it turned out. 

Senior Soren Tucker says that for his team, “the main concern was the memorization of what we should say, as well as who is saying what, and how fast we were talking.” Talking too fast may leave the judges unsure of what you’ve just said. Taking a brisk speed without being too leisurely ensures that content gets across, yet it is not overwhelming to the tired judges.

For Tucker’s team, “another huge concern was our dress attire.” Their team found it difficult to decide on what to wear. Often, group projects coordinate their clothes to the same level of professionality, so they look like a team when they present. Senior Henri Villeneuve, on Tucker’s team, says that he was “anxious and nervous” and joked that he “needed emotional support,” which his teammates helped with.

Aside from pitches and attire, posters are very important too. Tucker says his team was worried about their board. “We believed that it was going to ruin our hopes of being successful.”  

But besides worries, his teammates Villeneuve and Senior Anthony Herrera were excited to participate in judging, and to get treats after the judging session. “We’re eager to get Otter Pops from Ms. Smith,” says Herrera. Excitement was present and growing until the judging sessions began mid-Monday.