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Annual tech fair shows the kids are all right
Judges Darrell Snyder, left, and Chris Fowler help Jacob Hendrix, 10, a fourth-grader at Lakeview Academy, set up lights for his robotics project during Saturday’s annual tech fair. - photo by Robin Michener Nathan

Computer savvy students from across North Georgia gathered Saturday at Lakeview Academy to compete in the annual Lanier Regional Technology Fair.

The tech fair drew students from third to 12th grades in 10 different categories, ranging from decorating a desktop to building a computer. About 250 people attended the event.

A panel of judges rated each project on originality, clarity, documentation (following guidelines) and appropriateness.

The first-place winner for each category received a ribbon and the opportunity to compete March 9 in the Georgia State Technology Fair at West Forsyth High School in Cumming.

Mike Thomas, one of the judges and a television news photographer for WXIA, said he was "amazed at what (the kids) could do."

The tech fair was coordinated by Lynn Zottnick, a technology education teacher at Lakeview Academy. Zottnick said she "wanted to promote technology and give the students an opportunity to learn new skills and challenge themselves."

Zottnick said she tells students who enter the tech fair with high hopes to win that "the fact that you have done this, you have already won. You took a challenge. Winning is just a bonus."

Some of the 90 students who participated in the tech fair started working on their projects last semester. Fifth-graders Mitchell McIntire and Guarav Rochwani said they finished their entry in three weeks.

The pair entered their catapulting "Robot Grande" in the robotics category.

McIntire said he "thought it would be fun to build a robot that could actually do something."

The duo took third place, but said they will compete again next year.

First-prize winners Reanna Wang and Emma Reinhardt took home a ribbon for case modification.

Wang and Reinhardt, fourth-graders at Lakeview, decorated their computers like a cat and mouse.

Reinhardt said she was excited about competing and likes technology because she has "learned so much and feels comfortable with computers."

While the tech fair displayed projects that were judged, it also was a community event with door prizes, pizza, beverages and a raffle.

The raffle was for a Best Buy gift card worth $170, the price of the popular video game "Rock Band."

Connie White, Lakeview’s director of technology, set up a booth displaying information for families on Internet safety.

"I feel like technology will help our students be prepared for the world they are entering," White said.

Organizers said the fifth annual tech fair would not have been possible without the $2,000 donation from Valucom, as well as parent and teacher volunteers.