Announcing the 2015 DuPont Challenge Elementary Division Winners

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Students and Teachers Participate in the Inaugural Year of the K-5 Competition

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The winning entries demonstrate how elementary-level students, with their teachers’ support, can research, analyze and develop thoughtful STEM-based solutions.

DuPont is pleased to announce the grand prize winners and honorable mentions of the Elementary Division for The 2015 DuPont Challenge Science Writing Competition. In this inaugural year of the Elementary Division, students and teachers in kindergarten through fifth grade were invited to create science stories about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) challenges in their local communities and around the globe. Students worked in teams to research and present their creative solutions in illustrated story books.

“Research shows that as students advance into middle school, their opinions about science and math are more open to the benefits and opportunities of STEM, so it’s important to establish a strong foundation of STEM education and inspiration early,” said Karen A. Fletcher, vice president DuPont Engineering, Facilities Services & Real Estate and Chief Engineer. “The winning entries demonstrate how elementary-level students, with their teachers’ support, can research, analyze and develop thoughtful STEM-based solutions.”

The grand prize winning teams and their teachers for each grade level are:

  •     Kindergarten: “Kindergarten Non-Fiction Research Notebook,” and their teacher, Maureen Danahy, from Benjamin Banneker Charter Public School in Cambridge, Mass. Their science story is titled Penguins.
  •     First Grade: “Worms Are Essential” and their teacher, Laura Fedorchuk, from Kelly Mill Elementary in Cumming, Ga. Their science story is titled Worm Composting.
  •     Second Grade: “Gator Smiles 2nd" and their teacher, Pamela Gadboys, from Holley Navarre Primary in Navarre, Fla. Their science story is titled The Great Animal Shelter Experiment.
  •     Third Grade: “Future Meteorologists” and their teacher, Brandi Leggett, from Prairie Ridge Elementary in Shawnee, Kan. Their science story is titled How to Escape Natural Disasters.
  •     Fourth Grade: “Hailbusters” and their teacher, Laurel Brandon, from Fireside Elementary School in Phoenix, Ariz. Their science story is titled Hailbusters Car Protectors.
  •     Fifth Grade: “Terrific Tigers” and their teacher, Rebecca Howland, from William S. Talbot Elementary in Gainesville, Fla. Their science story is titled Hotter… with a Clay Pot Heater?

The DuPont Challenge Elementary Division provides more than $50,000 in total prizes and awards. The school of each grand prize winning team for each grade receives educational materials from Britannica Digital Learning and Carolina Curriculum, a subscription to Science Weekly, a DuPont Challenge trophy to display in their school and a “Science Is Fun Day” event hosted by DuPont. The grand prize winning teacher in each grade also receives an expenses-paid trip to the 2016 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) National Conference. The school of each team receiving an honorable mention receives resources from Britannica Digital Learning, a DuPont Challenge plaque and $100 grants for each sponsoring teacher.

The DuPont Challenge, created in 1986 as a science essay competition for middle and high school students, now receives nearly 10,000 essays each year. The Elementary Division was launched in this year to promote STEM learning and discovery at earlier ages and stimulate students’ interests in math and science.

The DuPont Challenge honors the men and women lost in the Challenger space shuttle in 1986. The crew included Ellison S. Onizuka, Greg Jarvis, Judy Resnik, Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ron McNair and Sharon Christa McAuliffe, who was the first teacher in space. The DuPont Challenge continues to draw inspiration from these individuals, as well as all who work to improve the world through scientific and technological discovery. The DuPont Challenge will be celebrating its 30th anniversary next year.

The DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition is sponsored by DuPont in collaboration with A+ Media, Britannica Digital Learning, Carolina Curriculum, NSTA and Science Weekly.

DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs and thought leaders we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels and protecting life and the environment. For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit

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Jane Bachmann
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