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Annual Kilby Science Day draws hundreds of high school students
new slt kilby speaker
Director of Education at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center Tom Holcomb delivers his keynote speech to kick off the Ninth Annual Jack Kilby Science Day on Thursday morning at Barton Community College. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Floating through space hundreds thousands of miles from Earth on Christmas Eve of 1968, Frank Borman of Apollo 8 ended a live broadcast with, “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you – all of you on the good Earth.”
These words came on the heels of arguably one of the worst years in recent history. From some of the gloomiest and bloodiest days of the Vietnam War to race riots and more, it was no picnic.
Director of Education at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center Tom Holcomb said that moment changed humanity for the better, forever, as people witnessed their tiny blue planet from the perspective of astronauts orbiting the moon. He said the view caused a paradigm shift in the minds of people everywhere as they realized “we’re all stuck on the same tiny rock, and we can’t get away.”
That was the primary message of his speech as the keynote speaker at the Ninth Annual Jack Kilby Science Day at Barton Community College Thursday morning.
The popular event features several sessions for students to attend, each of which focuses on a different area of science, from centrifugal force, gravity and sustainable energy sources to sonograms of a pregnant dog.
“It was really interesting,” said Kylee Radcliffe of Lyons High School. “There were so many experiments and science activities to do. Seeing the sonogram work was awesome.”
Another tradition at Jack Kilby Science Day is the Science Bowl competition, which featured more than a dozen teams from area high schools.
Alex Kirnie, Faith Karg and Robert Strine of Smith Center took home the first place honor.
It was their first time attending Jack Kilby Science Day, and each said it was a great experience.
“My favorite part was holding a human heart in my hands,” Karg said, adding she hopes to one day be a nurse.
The Ellinwood High School team of Samuel Kline-Martin, Cody Isern and Kyle Blakeslee came in second.
Landing in third place in the science bowl was South Barber High School’s team, which was composed of Mikala Gillig, Jace Thurman and Lane Hess.