Science project garners honors for local youth

Thursday, November 4, 2004

David Westrich is officially one of America's top young scientists.

The Cape Girardeau 14-year-old didn't expect his science project on lead levels in worms and wood lice to take him so far, but his work recently earned him third place in the Discovery Channel's Young Scientist Challenge.

The award comes with a $3,750 scholarship and the laudable claim of being one of "America's Top Young Scientists of the Year."

Westrich, now a freshman at Notre Dame Regional High School, completed a project titled "Lead Levels in Invertebrates Near Herculaneum, Missouri" as an eighth-grader last year at St. Vincent de Paul Parish School.

He submitted the project in the competition along with 1,800 other middle school students from around the country. He was among 400 students chosen to progress to the semifinalist round, and also among the 40 chosen as finalists.

Last month, he traveled to Washington, D.C., for a physics competition that is part of the Young Scientists Challenge. He worked with a team of other students who took first place in the competition and learned that his science project had taken third place overall.

Westrich was one of two local students chosen for the semifinals of the competition. Alan Ernst of Perryville, Mo., was also selected, but did not progress to the final round of competition.

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