The Bugman cometh to the Columbus City Schools Exceptional Science Fair at Beechcroft High from now on.

The Bugman cometh to the Columbus City Schools Exceptional Science Fair at Beechcroft High from now on.

Speaking at last week's 22nd annual edition of the event for special-needs, multihandicapped and orthopedically impaired students from throughout the district, Mark Berman, founder of Bugman Educational Entoprises, heaped praise on the science fair and its organizer, Paul Lasker.

"This event I would do no matter what," said Berman, who makes his living giving educational presentations featuring his collection of insects.

"I think Paul Lasker has done a fantastic job," Berman said. "This is the only science fair in Columbus City Schools, and it's all because of Paul Lasker.

"I want to do it every year."

Berman added that he'd even skip a paying gig in order to interact with the students at the fair.

For his part, Beechcroft special education instructor Lasker welcomed the 90 students participating in the fair as well as the dozens of volunteers who help out, including representatives of Ohio State University, Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District, COSI, Metro Parks and Beechcroft students who aren't in the special education program.

"Rock it out," Lasker said to open the April 22 festivities. "We're going to have a great day."

Lasker said the fair would not be possible if it weren't for the help of the various volunteers.

The students who participate in the Exceptional Science Fair complete projects under the Ohio Science Standards, the same one for all students, according to a brochure handed out at the Beechcroft High event.

One of the projects this year focused on the explosive properties of soft drinks when they come into contact with Mentos mints. Another involved creating electricity via students pedaling a bicycle.

"It's great to see what the kids have put together," said Linda Pettit of Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation. "It's also great to interact with students."

Mary Ann Crowley and Nancy Deltaco, then teachers at Beechcroft High School, organized the first Exceptional Science Fair in 1994.

Lasker assisted them with the first eight events, and took over sole responsibility for putting it on when Crowley and Deltaco moved out of the area in 2002.