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MHS students use science fair winnings to pay it forward

Three students with an interest in honeybees developed a science fair project last year that earned them a monetary award from the Tellus Science Museum at the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair.

Instead of splitting the winnings, students John Childers, Keaton Wimbish and Kyle Ewers, who were eighth graders last year at Bennett’s Mill Middle and are currently freshmen at McIntosh High, decided to start the FIRST (Fayette Innovations in Research Science and Technology) Foundation to recognize outstanding middle school science projects at the annual Fayette County Science and Engineering Fair.

This year FIRST awarded the inaugural Rae Presley-King Science Award, named after the former principal of Bennett’s Mill Middle, to Jonathan Lewis of Whitewater Middle.  Jonathan’s project, Pump It Up, took first place honors at both the county and regional science fairs, and is headed to the state competition at the University of Georgia March 27-29.

The FIRST founders have continued their research on honeybees and have completed another project that took top honors this year at the county and regional fairs, and will also be a contender at the state fair later this month.

They have already won the Ricoh America Corporation Award for their research on bees as environmental bio-indicators that was conducted in collaboration with Jessica Moss at the Camilla-based USDA facility, Waters Agricultural Laboratory.

In addition to their science fair award winnings, John, Keaton and Kyle have also collected generous community donations to help fund the FIRST Foundation. Anyone interested in making a donation to FIRST can contact science teacher Margo Wimbish at the Fayette County Alternative Program at

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