Gifted and Talented Specialist Aisha Coleman-Holmes, from left, visits with Ponderosa Elementary student Devon Dunkel as he demonstrates his working model of a municipal water tower during the Spring ISD GT Expo.
HOUSTON – April 27, 2018 – Ponderosa Elementary first grader Devon Dunkel yelled out “I’m here,” as he ran up to the people looking at the table-top town he built for the Spring ISD GT Expo.
As Dunkel demonstrated the working water tower that supplies water to his miniature city, students at nearby tables presented their own projects on subjects ranging from black holes to prehistoric sea creatures.
The Spring ISD GT Expo on Thursday brought about 250 scholars with their projects from the district’s gifted and talented program into the cafeteria at the Carl Wunsche Sr. High School. The event is designed to showcase the creativity of GT students who spend weeks on their projects, presented on boards, dioramas and computer laptops.
The Spring ISD Manager of Advanced Academics Tiffany Wilcox welcomed families into the crowded cafeteria. She said the expo draws participation from all levels in the district, ranging from elementary to high school.
“We have our tables labeled for our campuses, but once everyone gets here, the labels disappear behind all of the projects as they come to life,” Wilcox said. “It’s always just an amazing event. It’s exciting.”
District volunteers moved among the exhibits, quizzing the scholars about their projects. Dunkel began a new demonstration of his water tower, as Gifted and Talented Specialist Aisha Coleman-Holmes watched closely. Dunkel’s mother, Courtney Wright stood nearby and smiled as she remarked that this was his second GT Expo, and he knew what he wanted to talk about.
“This time he wanted to do water towers. He had questions about water towers, and when you drive the beltway you see them sticking up, and he always wondered about them,” said Wright.
That curiosity prompted the first grader to do some research, and that became the water tower project displayed among other student presentations, such as robotics and the science of tornadoes.
Wilcox said the projects always cover a wide variety of subjects, each one giving the scholars experience in research and a chance to sharpen their presentation skills. “It’s either a passion project about a scholar’s favorite subject, or it could be something that leads to college and career down the road,” she said.