MOUNT VERNON — Busy 4-H’ers and their parents crowded Mount Vernon High School on Wednesday afternoon to present their projects to judges, learn their grades and think about how their projects will be displayed at the Knox County Fair in July.
Keith Robinson, 10, was waiting for judging of his fishing project with his brother, Ben Robinson, 16, while their mother waited nearby.
Logan Smith, 15, of Butler had chosen a project on “Writing and Reporting For Teens” that he had enjoyed enough to want to work on in the future. He said he would recommend it for his 4-H club’s news reporter.
“He has studied creative writing in the past, and he’d like to work on this project again,” said Larry Hall of OSU Extension in judging Smith’s project.
Olivia Troyer, 8, was celebrating receiving an “A” on her rope tying project with her friend, Hannah Vaughn, 7, and her parents Sam and Connie Troyer. She’d chosen red nylon rope, because her favorite color is red.
“I had fun,” Olivia said, adding that her favorite knot is the Stevedore, “because it’s easy and simple to do.”
Derrica Reynolds, 13, was thrilled to receive a “B” on her photography project from judge Chrystal Rardin.
“I was so happy,” she said, adding that her project will be on display at the fair in the Just Kidding Around 4-H Club booth.
Rardin, one of three photography judges, said fewer 4-H’ers than registered had arrived by mid-afternoon. She expressed some concern about the students’ projects this year.
“What we’re finding is they’re not completing their projects. In photography,” she said, “they have to start before yesterday. We’re not seeing the quality of work that we expected. I judge at the state fair too, so I’m anxious to see what that will be like. I think it’s the economy, money, and kids are very, very busy. And they sure are cute kids.”
LuAnn Duncan of the OSU-Knox County extension office said traffic had been steady in the food judging area all day, and she was pleased to notice 4-H’ers were learning about the nutritional value of foods and the food pyramid.
“We’re seeing a lot more understanding about nutrition,” Duncan said. “I’d like to see us contribute to that trend.
“Some of the kids are scared to death when they come in ... judging, you know. For some, it’s their first time. But they do well and when they’re done, they’re so happy.”
Mount Vernon High School’s practice field was the site of many 4-H rocket launches Wednesday evening, as young fans of rocketry showed off their projects for judges.
Seth Lawhon, 8, had success with his 2-liter pop bottle rocket and received an “A.” He attributed part of his success to the three elliptical cardboard fins perfectly attached to the bottle.
“In my book, they were rated the best,” he said, “and they worked to give my rocket stable flight.”
Ben Mugrage, 14, said, “This is the second year I’ve used my rocket. It should fly pretty high because it’s got a different engine this year. I’m pretty excited.”
He predicted the rocket would reach 1,000 feet, but it achieved a considerably higher altitude.
Dylan Schnormeier had a brand-new Aerotech rocket that he said he worked on for a while, but which hadn’t been tested.
“I haven’t gotten a launch yet, because of the weather and because of technical difficulties,” he said.
Although the 7-foot-tall rocket has a capacity for 1,350 feet, Schnormeier was aiming for 750 feet for its first flight.
“I had to call the airport no less than 24 hours and no more than 48 hours in advance, and tell them the weight, height, altitude, time, my name and the location,” he said. “If they weigh more than one pound, I have to call. If they weigh more than 3.3 pounds, I have to follow other Federal Aviation Administration regulations.”
With a loud roar, Schnormeier’s rocket achieved 750 feet and he received an “A” for his project, although the two parts of the rocket failed to separate to allow the parachute to open on the downward trajectory. The rocket came down, nose first, near the audience, but Dylan and his father, David, raced to try to catch it. The impact with the ground did considerable damage.