District Showcases Works at R&D Forum


The 49th annual Research and Development Forum showcased works from some of the best and talented art, science, and technology of students all across the district. The two-day student excellence festival took place at West last weekend and ended with an awards ceremony.

“It’s more of a showcase, so there really were no stand-outs,” Stanhope said, “Everyone’s displays were a little different.”School board members Gene Johnson and Bob Regnier were in attendance at the awards ceremony, congratulating the winners, who were chosen by a group of judges.

Of the awards handed out at the R&D Forum, the Vic Regnier Awards, handed out to a handful of students in the district each year, are the most prestigious. The award recognizes students who go above and beyond in their work.

The winners of the Regnier Award each get a $1500 scholarship and a family pass to Science City at Union Station.

In addition, there were a number of presentations, a quiz bowl, and musical performances from strings and choir. The quiz bowl, called the Brain Bowl, was a social studies competition similar to the Geography Bee.

Many students in technology classes, such as CAD and Woods, have worked for a large part of the school year on their projects.

“The woodworking displays were probably some of the best works we had to showcase,” CAD teacher Steve Stanhope said.

One of the woodworking projects was made by junior Brandon Mengel – a custom pool table –  which he spent countless hours designing and building.

The art department also teamed up this year, as the R&D Forum combined with the District Art Fair for the first time this year. Sophomores Marisa Collins and Marie Leathers won Community Awards, sponsored by the Greater Kansas City Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, in addition to awards for Career and Technical Education.

Both students and teachers also hosted interactive seminars and presentations for visitors. These included a DNA demonstration, a photoprint booth, and an electrostatic hair-raising machine.

Overall, the many different types of projects showed a dynamic side of the district and did not lack in variety.

“Some schools offer different things that other schools may not,” Stanhope said.

The entire awards ceremony was broadcast live on the SMSD website, and is still viewable in its entirety through a link from the home page.

Photo courtesy of Taylor Adkins/SMSD