Local Fifth-Grader Wins Science Honor

KNOXVILLE — A West Hills Elementary School student has won top honors in an international science competition.

Emily Sills, 10, was one of five final winners in the Earth and Sky Young Producers’ Contest. “Earth and Sky” is a syndicated radio program that airs on stations around the world including WUOT, 91.9 FM in Knoxville.

Sills, a fifth-grade student in Michele Tarricone’s class at West Hills, won a $500 savings bond for her 90-second program that explored the question of life on Mars. She is the daughter of Roy and LeAnn Marshall of Knoxville.

Emily’s segment will air on all Earth and Sky affiliates at 6:30 p.m., May 10.

Tarricone said the entire school is celebrating the honor.

“The students, and her teacher, are all very proud of Emily,” Tarricone said. “Emily is taking it all in stride, but we’re all very excited.”

The timing of Emily’s win couldn’t have been better, Tarricone said. The class has just started its study of space.

Last November WUOT assisted 28 students from the Knoxville area record their entries for the Young Producers’ competition, said Regina Dean, WUOT executive director.

The local National Public Radio affiliate will broadcast six of the local students’ productions March 9 through 16, Dean said.

In addition to West Hills, local student participants came from Karen Bluth-Gill’s fourth-grade class at Fountain City Elementary; Doreen Krumenachker’s fourth-grade and Ed Davis’ fifth-grade classes at Powell Elementary; eighth graders at Greenway School; and home-schooled students from Townsend.

The contest is designed to increase students’ enthusiasm for science, problem solving and communication skills, Dean said.