“Don’t worry about what people will say. Just trust your instincts and do what you’re passionate about.”
– Syni Solanki ‘21
Ridley ensures that our students have ample opportunities to pursue their passions, develop grit, overcome challenges and build foundations for flourishing lives. Our school’s curriculum provides students with the ability to pursue their passions, while participating in an enriching learning experience. Projects like the Community Action Project and the PYP Exhibition, allow students to choose what area they’d like to focus on, thus giving them to opportunity to align their passions with their academic courses. This freedom to choose evokes curiosity in each student and they develop a desire to learn.
In January of this year, the Grade 7 students fused their passion with science at Ridley’s annual Lower School Science Fair. These students spent months gathering research, conducting experiments, and discovering answers to their own questions. One student in particular, Syni Solanki ’21, set out to discover a cheap and efficient way to desalinate water, which is the process of removing minerals from salt water, leaving fresh water behind.
“Water is everywhere, but is it fresh? One-third of the world’s population does not have access to clean drinking water, so I attempted to find a cheap and efficient method to bring fresh water to everyone in the world.”
– Syni Solanki ‘21
After being inspired by two news programmes – one on graphene (which is a carbon based material) and the other on water scarcity – Syni saw a possible connection between graphene and the desalination process. After extensive research, Syni discovered that graphene can in fact desalinate water, and it can be done using an efficient and cost-friendly method. She found that by creating a reusable graphene sand mesh, she could remove minerals from salt water.
On January 29th, Syni presented her experiment at Ridley’s annual Lower School Science Fair. Members of the Ridley community were impressed by Syni’s theory, and she was awarded First Place, but her scientific journey did not end there.
Along with four of her classmates, Syni then competed in the Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair (NRSEF). The NRSEF is an annual event, where young students from the Niagara region can demonstrate their scientific theories in a stimulating environment. Syni confidently displayed her findings, as local scientists, business professionals and engineers quizzed her on her research. During the NRSEF Awards Ceremony, Syni was awarded the Brock University Chemistry Award, The Waldie Fast Memorial Trophy and placed second in the Junior age category.
Due to Syni’s impressive project and her results in the Junior age category, she was asked to represent Niagara in the Canada-Wide Science Fair. This science fair celebrates Canada’s brightest young minds, featuring participants from across the country. This year, a total of 415 students travelled to Montreal, Quebec for the 2016 Canada-Wide Science Fair, being held at McGill University. The six-day event included more than just a gallery walk displaying Canada’s brightest scientists, but guests and participants could also attend keynote speakers, demonstrations and learn about the impressive research being done by the University.
Up against 162 participants in her category, Syni confidently displayed her work and earned the Bronze medal and a $1000 entrance scholarship to Western University – a truly astonishing accomplishment.
Congratulations to Syni! It is clear that with such dedication, passion and talent, Syni will flourish during her education and beyond.