Friday, May 16, 2014

Day 7 - Project Takedown and Farewell Event

Today started with the final Public Viewing and School Tours event in the morning.  Thankfully the weather was cooperating this time - cold, but sunny with no rain in sight.

Public viewing allowed the team to talk about their projects one last time, and also visit with many of their new friends from all over Canada (and Australia!)  It also gave everyone a chance to see the projects of other finalists, and start preparing ourselves for the end of our great week here at Canada-Wide.

Before heading down to lunch, the team presented Dan with a signed sweatshirt in appreciation, and the rest of the delegates received umbrellas (which could have been useful a few days earlier!) which were soon also signed by the entire team.

One last lunch (chicken and lasagna), and then it was time to head back to the Project Hall (one last time on the long walk) for project take-down.  Everything went smoothly and projects were rolled up into their carrying tubes for the trip home, and then the BASEF team lingered as they all signed each other's title boards and said goodbye to many of the other finalists and ambassadors.

It wasn't long after we got back before it was time to head out to the "Farewell Event" being held on the waterfront - about a 40 minute walk away, but the team chose to make the waterfront walk instead of  taking one of the buses.

The event had food (pizza, which apparently Windsor is "famous" for) and some basic activities, and the chance to mingle with other finalists one last time.  Soon after it was time to go back to the residence (bus this time!), and many on our team continued to talk and visit with their newly found friends from all over, well into the night.

A personal note from George (blogger guy):  This has been an incredible team of young men and women and it has been a privilege to share this week with them.  They are all smart, hard-working, polite, and very respectful of others.  Members of the team all supported each other and cheered for each other.  All of us delegates/chaperones are very proud of this team, not only for what they have accomplished, but also because of the way that they are all excellent representatives for our region and their communities.

Thank you to all of the parents, volunteers, sponsors, and other supporters for making the Canada-Wide trips possible, and most of all thank you to the Team BASEF Students for doing such a great job and making us all so proud.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 6 - Awards Ceremony

Today was a busy day!

The morning started with 3 hours of Public Viewing and school tours.  But first, we had to walk to the Project Hall after breakfast, and for the first time the weather was not in our favour.  Even with the use of umbrellas and garbage bags, everyone was thoroughly soaked by the time we reached the projects.  Wet shoes and soaked pants were the order of the morning.

Once we settled in, everyone took the situation in stride, and soon the team was talking to visiting public and school students.  This was also the opportunity to take the team's photos at their projects, be sure to check them out on Facebook or Flickr.

Once the morning's public viewing was over, it was off to lunch (and thankfully the rain had stopped!)  And then time to great ready in suits and dresses to head out to the Awards Ceremony.

The Awards show was held not too far away, towards downtown Windsor, in a nice theatre / banquet facility.  Soon enough we were all seated in the theatre, and the award ceremony was under way...

The results for the BASEF Team were amazing.  There is no doubt that each and every one of our projects was excellent and deserving of a medal, but it's also true that the competition at Canada-Wide is very tough, filled with excellent projects from across the entire country.

Here is our list of Medal Winners:

Gold medal:
Isabella O'Brien

Silver Medals:
Jack Mogus,
Nart Barileva,
Aagnik Pant, and
Alex Tomala

Bronze Medals:
Dana Torbin,
Patrick Lutz,
Jessica Bohm,
Eduard Brenninkmeijer,
Caroline Mahut,
Katie Brent,
Federico Cao, and
Adree Khondker.

Isabella also won the Environmental Challenge Award, Alex won the Information Technology Challenge Award, and Katie won the Australian National Youth Science Forum Award.

Great work to the entire team!

After the Awards Show, we were treated to a banquet dinner that was very good (and fancy!), and after that the evening finished with a dance.  Once that wrapped up, many of the team chose to walk back to the residence - a bit chilly, but a nice walk along the waterfront.

You can find all the pictures at:


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Day 5 - Tour Day!

Time to relax a bit...  in the morning we were off to the "Team Ontario" picture - a photo with all the finalists from Ontario.  After that, it was breakfast and then off to find the buses to take us to our Point Pelee tour.

We had the chance to spend the morning and lunch time at Point Pelee, seeing the southernmost point in mainland Canada, as well as a chance to walk through the park marshes and boardwalk.  Everyone really enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time seeing this interesting area.

After that, our tour took us to Amherstberg and Fort Malden, a historical site from the War of 1812.  For both our stops, the weather was in our favour, with it only raining a bit while we were on the bus.

Once we returned from the tours, we had a short break and then went on another walk along the waterfront to make our way to the restaurant for our "night out" dinner.  The menu at the restaurant was great and there was a lot of selection for everyone to take advantage of..

Overall a relaxing day, giving the team the chance to see some new sights and learn about some interesting things about this part of Ontario.

Thursday in the morning is another Public Viewing, and then in the afternoon we're off to the Awards Ceremony!  There are many great projects and great students in Team BASEF this year, good luck to everyone as we head into the awards.  I may already have said this, but this is a team that our region can truly be proud of.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Day 4 - Judging Day!

Judging Day has arrived... the students were up early for breakfast, with a mixture of excitement and anticipation, and maybe a little anxiety.  Everybody looked sharp, dressed in their judging best, and we had an extra bonus today of sunny weather - bucking the forecast of rain from yesterday.
The team ready for judging, except for Patrick who was standing too far to the right...

After breakfast, it was another walk to the Project Hall, and off to Judging!

Everyone received at least four judges in the morning, some up to six.  A walk back to the cafeteria for lunch, and then back to the Projects for more judging in the afternoon - a mix of special awards and other judges.  Some of the team had judges that tried to give them tough (or odd) questions, but a combination of practice, smart kids, and great projects prevailed in the end.  Overall everyone was talking about their judging experience as a positive one.  There's a lot of tough competition at a Canada-Wide fair, but the BASEF team did their best to show what they know and put forward a great impression.  This is a team that everyone back home can be very proud of.
8 members of Team BASEF after judging, plus one extra...

Some serious dark clouds and thundershowers rolled in, but the skies cleared again for the end of judging at t 5:30pm, giving everyone a dry walk back to the residence.  There was certainly some relief as judging was finished!  From here on, the hard work is done, best efforts have been made, and it's in the hands of the judges.

The evening had some events for winding down - the boys took in a game of rugby (in the mud), while the girls went for the karaoke singing in the finalist lounge.  Plus some other minor shenanigans involving perfume, with no damage done except that the boys' room ended up smelling nicer than usual.

Tomorrow is tour day - some very interesting stops are planned, including Point Pelee.  And a well deserved break for the entire team!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Day 3 - Project Practice and Science Discovery

For the students this morning involved a new activity this year - the opportunity for students to give their presentation to other students on the Project Floor, and to listen to the presentations of others.  A great opportunity to meet students from other regions as well as a chance to get in some practice !

Unfortunately on the return walk there was a bit of rain, but it wasn't enough to dampen spirits...

After lunch, there were a number of "Campus Science Interactive" presentations and workshops, with the team splitting up to attend various different sessions on all sorts of science topics.  (Apparently some were more interesting than others.)

After dinner, we went over to the Finalist Lounge area where they were having a number of events and activities for the students, which was also another chance to mingle with finalists from other regions, as well as relax a bit before thinking about judging.
Some important last minute reminders and suggestions for all the students...

And finally, we did another series of practice sessions with the team ...  everyone did a great job, and there was a lot of good feedback and comments that came out of the practice presentations.


Be sure to also check out the full set of pictures on Facebook, as well as the high-resolution pictures available on flickr:

Tomorrow is a big day ... Judging!  Judging will start at 9am and goes until 5:30, with a break for lunch.  We're hoping the rain will hold off to allow everyone to get to the Project Hall without getting too wet.  Good luck to all of Team BASEF tomorrow - you all have great projects, and it's time to show the judges what you know!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Day 2 - Project Setup & Public Viewing

Today was a busy day... After getting up for breakfast, we were off to the Project Hall to do our project setups...  This was also our first experience with how far away the Projects are from our residence.  A good 10 to 15 minutes walk, each way... and it's a roundtrip we did three times today.  With many more to come before the week is over!

Project setup went smoothly, and in no time everyone was set up and all the projects were looking great.  We had a few extra minutes before lunch so we all took a walk down to the Windsor waterfront, which has a nice trail and park area.  A quick walk back and it was lunch time, and then time to walk over to the Project Hall for the first round of public viewing.

The viewing event today was rather low-key, but it gave everyone a chance to practice up on their presentations a bit, as well as an opportunity to talk to other students in the display hall.  A lot of great projects this year from all over the country.

Public viewing ended at 4:30pm, so it was a leisurely walk back to dinner, and then it was over to the Project display building (one more time!) for the Opening Ceremonies.  There was the usual combination of entertainment and speeches, and also the announcement of this year's Canada-Wide Alumni Award winner - Michael Serbinis, a science fair competitor from the early 1990s that went on to found a number of high-tech companies including "Kobo", the e-reader company.  Michael is an alumnus of BASEF as well, just like the first winner last year, Ben Gulak.

After the Opening Ceremonies, we had some free time and the team chose to take another walk down to the waterfront.  In between the sightseeing Dan also arranged for some time for the team to practice their presentations by explaining their projects to other members of the BASEF team.

After a busy day, it was back to the residence ... tomorrow is a student-oriented project viewing activity in the morning, and then some Science-oriented events in the afternoon.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Day 1 - Travel to Windsor

This year our trip was by bus... not the most exciting way to travel, but it worked well.  We were a bit late in starting as the bus tried to find where to pick us up, and we were even more delayed as there were traffic problems on the highway that we had to drive around. This resulted in our arrival in Windsor at about 7pm.

One issue was the fact that dinner time ended at 7pm... by the time we got to cafeteria, all that was left was cake... which for some might have made a good dinner, but I'm not sure all parents would approve.  However, the cafeteria staff were very helpful and in no time we had a quite complete and very nice dinner selection available (even salad and veggies too!).  Plus cake.

The team settled into our rooms -  7th floor! - and we spent some time in the evening at the "meet and greet" event to allow students from different teams to start to get to know each other.  And soon after that, time for bed, it will be a busy day tomorrow - project setup, orientation, public viewing, and opening ceremonies are on tap.