Six lucky schoolchildren used their imaginations to go deep-sea exploring and discovered they were winners in the Coast Day Essay Contest. For the "Year of the Ocean" essay, students were asked to respond to the following questions. Imagine you are a marine scientist who is about to embark on a deep-sea expedition. Where are you going? What will you search for and why is it important? What will your discovery do for the future?
The contest, open to Delaware fifth-graders, is an ongoing tradition at Coast Day, an annual educational event sponsored by the University of Delaware Graduate College of Marine Studies and Sea Grant College Program. Held at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, on October 4, the event brought information on Delaware's coastal resources and the University's marine research to the public.
The first- through third-place winners were all from Frankford Elementary School in Frankford. Lauren Cook, who won first place in the contest, took a deep-sea submersible to the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. Her essay cautioned readers about the danger of upsetting the ecological balance of the reef by gathering sea life as souvenirs. Second place was awarded to Rebecca Collins, who took a submersible into the Atlantic Ocean to search for the great white shark. Her essay educated readers about the importance of understanding the life and habits of sea creatures like the great white. Whitney McMillon took third place with her essay about a journey in the waters off of St. Lucia. Her fascination with deep-sea life was translated into concern for preserving a healthy ocean environment.
Three honorable mentions were awarded. Anne Claire McBride, of Bayard Intermediate School in Wilmington, explored the Bay of Fundy in her essay. Dennis Siriphone, of Frankford Elementary, focused his essay on discovering ways to harness ocean waves and currents for electric power. Danielle David, also from Frankford Elementary, used a dream sequence in her essay to explore underwater life.