A trio of local students will be off to the nation's capital later this spring following their outstanding performances at the Chinook Regional Science Fair.

Seventy-six students, from six schools, came together last week at the Swift Current Comp. High School to display their 46 science projects to 13 judges and find out who would be headed to Ottawa.

For the second year in a row, Mapalo Mushoriwa emerged as the winner of the regional event. Hazlet School's Tessa Todd and Braden Baumann placed second again, the duo's 2022 project also produced the same outcome.

Dawn Caswell, the treasurer for the Chinook Regional Science Fair Committee, has been involved with the region's science fair for over a decade and has seen eight individuals and pairs make it to nationals on multiple occasions.

"I think it's that they get a taste of it and know what it's like," she said. "They're so inclined (to get back there). Mapalo's goal before we left Canada-wide last year was to come back to Canada-wide this year.

"The exposure at Canada wide is incredible. The idea that someone can go to Canada-wide and come away unimpacted is laughable. They come away like, so-and-so did this, I can do that next time. Their own ability to take that back and grow with it is incredible."

Job action from teachers shortened the event from a day and a half to a day this year and dampened the overall total of submissions with some schools electing to forgo sending students to compete at the regional level. However, Caswell is doing her part to increase participation numbers by making it mandatory for her students for the last 15 years.

"There's a portion in the Saskatchewan science curriculum from grade five to grade 12 that allows for an inquiry project to be a part of your classroom curriculum," she explained. "That is something that I do and a number of science teachers do across our school division and outside of our school division to allow for these students to choose something in their area of interest and become an expert about it."

The individual or group projects push students to learn more about scientific ideas they have but also test their problem-solving skills, patience, resiliency, and dedication.

"It's interesting to be able to see which ones can really stick to it and get there even when it doesn't go the way they want," she said. "There's still science to be learned."

This year's national-wide event featuring some of the country's youngest brilliant minds runs from May 25 to June 1 and will offer a platform for participants to receive scholarships to universities and colleges across Canada.

"We tend to look towards the older people in certain areas of businesses as the ones that have all the wisdom, but I think what we deny then is that imagination of youth," she said. "That creativity that youth has."