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Kids explore passions at Brain Blast

Grandview students share interests ranging from composting to '80s culture

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RYAN M.L. YOUNG/THISWEEKNEWS
Ella Stevens (left) and Veronica Warren demonstrate their science project for Ella's grandmother, Trudy Bush, during Grandview's annual Brain Blast, held Thursday, Feb. 20. Students may display exhibits on their favorite subjects during the event.

The calendar may indicate it's 2014, but for second-grader Mary Gamble, it's the 1980s that are totally awesome.

"I realized that I have a lot of stuff from the 1980s and most of my favorite TV shows, like Jem and the Holograms and Family Ties, are from the '80s," she said. "I just think it was the best decade. Things were cooler than they are now."

It's not just '80s TV shows she likes.

Mary displayed a number of her toys and games that were all popular in her favorite decade at the annual Brain Blast creativity fair. The event, held Thursday, Feb. 20, at the Edison Intermediate/Larry Larson Middle School commons, is sponsored by the Grandview K-3 PTO.

"I love Cabbage Patch Dolls and Rubik's Cube and playing with Simon or Speak and Spell," Mary said. "I think electronic toys were better back then when they were simpler."

Dressed in hoop earrings, a denim jacket and legwarmers, Mary looked like she was a time traveler from the era of Reagan and Madonna.

"The fashions of today aren't as much fun as the '80s," she said.

Second-grader Noah Curfman's display described the history of baseball, his favorite sport.

"I like how you can slide into bases and hit the ball with the bat," he said.

Noah wore his Orioles uniform from his coach-pitch baseball league.

Not surprisingly, the Baltimore Orioles are his favorite major league team.

Researching his favorite sport turned up some interesting facts, Noah said.

"I liked finding out what's inside a baseball," he said. "It's just yarn that's all tied together."

Ohioans should be proud of their baseball heritage, Noah said.

"The first professional team came from Cincinnati -- the Reds," he said.

Kendall Longbrake's display was on a more-serious topic: the importance of composting.

"We do it at home and I thought it would be a good idea to show people how you can compost and how it helps the environment," she said. "What we found out was that there was so many things you can compost. I think a lot of people don't realize how many there are."

Visitors to her display were invited to take with them an information sheet listing the variety of objects suitable for composting.

"It is hard to compost because it takes so long for things to disintegrate," Kendall said, "but it's worth it because you're not throwing as much food in the garbage can."

Collin Sauer was drawing a steady stream of visitors to his display, but it wasn't the display itself that was attracting all the attention.

It was his aunt's dog, Avery, which he brought to the Brain Blast.

Collin's project involved surveying friends, family and students and conducting his own research into the question of whether owning a dog can make you happier and healthier.

"We had 81 people respond and 74 said they do own a dog," he said. "Sixty-three people said a dog does make you feel happy and improves your health, but 18 people said no."

Many of those who said "no" do not own dogs, "so how do they know if a dog can make you happy?" Collin pondered.

The answer is clear to him.

"I would definitely say you should get a dog," he said. "Studies show that petting a dog reduces your stress and owning a dog makes you less unhappy and less likely to get sick."

The research indicates that pets can help heart patients, those suffering from depression, senior citizens and the sick, Collin said.

He said he knows the benefits of having a dog first-hand.

"My dog, Tesla, she makes me happy when I come home from kindergarten," he said. "She's always wagging her tail. That means she's happy to see me."

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