A little background for you – I have always been good in school. I have always been especially good in science. It just made sense to me.All my other girl friends loved English and Art. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I got good grades in those subjects, but I can’t tell you the difference between and adverb and a preposition if my life depended on it. (That will probably be obvious as you read through this essay so don’t come for me too hard). In high school, my science classes were mostly me and a bunch of boys. When I got to college, nothing about that really changed much. I guess it was never weird because that was just how it was going to be.
Fast forward many years to having two daughters. My oldest daughter, Dessa, started 6th grade in public school this year. It is much bigger than she has ever experienced.In September, Dessa came home with a paper telling parents that 6th & 7th graders were invited to participate in the science fair; only 8th graders are required to participate. I happened to mention that I went to the State science fair in high school and how much fun I had. About two weeks later, Dessa shyly asked if I can help her enter the science fair. Y’all … it took everything within me to play it cool.We worked together to create an experiment. I was delightfully surprised at how much she got into it.
Her project was about the flammability of different types of fabrics (because she wants to be a fashion designer).I don’t think I’ve seen her worker harder on any other project. She even made myself, my husband, and a couple of her friends sit down and listen to her presentation. A couple of months later, it was time for the school science fair.Of course, I volunteered to judge. No, I didn’t judge her category. She did so well that she received an invitation to the Regional Science fair. She was the ONLY non-8th grader that participated.My little mama heart was exploding.
On to the regional science fair. I did my darndest to play it cool again.I even forced myself to drop her off and not hang around … I couldn’t be THAT mom. After an exciting day of buying her own lunch, it was time for the awards ceremony.I walked into the Student Union and looked around. The room was full of both boys and girls! I was thrilled, shocked, and excited at this point and we hadn’t even started the awards.
The fair was divided into categories of sciences, i.e. Biochemistry, Plant Science, Physics, etc.. As soon as we got to her category, I held my breath. Maybe she did well enough to get 4th place. That would be amazing. Nope – a different name is called. I started thinking about how I was going to tell her how proud I was of her entering and participating. At that point, they had announced 3rd, then 2nd place.Almost finished … 1st place goes to Dessa Tremblay.Um, what?!She was as shocked as I was.I immediately texted my husband.We were both freaking out.This was amazing!She won her division – Materials Science. Holy Moly! Ok, I thought to myself, “I’m gonna let them finish announcing all the big top tier winners and them I’m gonna bear hug that kid so hard.”They moved on to another award – the Airforce Award (I had to look it up too).It’s for the two students that stood out the most.They called another child’s name and then “Dessa Tremblay.”Um, what? Moving on to the top two students in the whole fair – 2nd place – a female student from Sherwood Middle! Oh wow! Go girl!Ok, drumroll … 1st place goes to Dessa Tremblay from Sherwood Middle.Um, what? I watched my little baby physically shaking because she was so surprised, nervous, delighted.My kid won the whole darn thing!
I have to tell you though; these other kids are geniuses.Their projects were incredible and just to be competing against them made my kid feel special. More than that, Dessa made friends with a group of girls who all vehemently think that winning the science fair is the most cool / amazing / awesome thing ever. I can’t wait to see what these girls do in the future.It gives me so much hope!
About the Author
Violet Tremblay is the owner of Painting and Pinot. In her previous life, she was an Environmental Scientist for the State of Louisiana and Executive Director of The Princeton Review of Louisiana. In her spare time, Violet enjoys reading, creating and spending time with her family (husband – Chris, daughters – Dessa & Addy)