Persistence pays for Nate

In kindergarten, he saw that other kids his age colored. He decided it was time to use his crayons at home. He went home and practiced intensely. Long after he was supposed to be asleep, he lay on his bed coloring by the hall light.
Watching his brothers and friends riding bikes he determined to join them. Brushing aside the training wheels they had used, he insisted his dad hold the bike and trot beside him while he learned. Within days he was soloing down the street.
When he was old enough to attend the school skating parties, he suddenly realized that he didn’t know how to skate. He scrounged through the closets, found the neglected pair of skates, strapped the patio and down the drive. By the day of the party, he was ready to skate with the rest.
As a teen, his science fair project earned him a place at the state science fair where he slumped in disappointment through an hour of award ceremonies. Afterward, he asked how they had won. He was told that most winners had participated in the Junior Academy of Science (JAS). If that’s what it took, then that’s what he was going to do. As one of his science supervisors, I was bugged for the next several months to get everything he needed from the JAS coordinators at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.
I also learned about the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. (JSHS) held in Arkansas-Tech in Russellville. Junior Academy participants met and tried out their papers there the weekend before the JAS. He pulled together 17 pages of data and discussion, submitted his paper and was selected as an alternate reader. I thought that was the end of it. The coordinator said, “Oh no, someone usually can’t come so two alternates get to read.”
He went, he read and stumbled his way through the questioning period afterward. But, the next week at the Junior Academy, held in conjunction with the state science fair, he was prepared for the onslaught of probing questions. That year, he walked away with the awards.
At the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), he sat through four hours of awards with no recognition. It bugged him that as a senior he could not go back and try again.
Then, it began to bother him that students of the southwest region of Arkansas are sent like lambs to the slaughter at both the state and international science fair. If he couldn’t win a Pentium computer, a trip abroad or scholarship award at ISEF, he decided someone else locally should.
So why was I surprised that he decided to write to the region’s teachers, students and industries alerting them of the scholarship possibilities through the various levels of science fairs.
He thinks that more than just the students from a few schools in the center parts of Arkansas should know. With his determination he just might succeed in his mission.