Taradale High School student Kate Gear is amazed to have won the EIT Hawke's Bay Science and Technology Fair for the second successive year.
With an eye for stories in the public eye, the 13-year-old chose topical issues for both winning projects.
The Year 9 student won this year's fair with her project on cyber bullying. The topic built on her win last year when, as a Taradale Intermediate School pupil, she adopted body image as her theme.
As part of that exercise, she carried out a survey exploring concerns about body image.
"Many of those who responded said they had been bullied about their looks, and I have seen mates go through bullying."
This year, Kate included 203 students in a survey she undertook at Taradale High School and William Colenso College. She agrees that the three abusive responses she received and excluded from her results were in themselves a form of bullying.
Posing about a dozen questions divided into sections gave her a good amount of material with which to work. She then created large spread sheets, wrote up her results and made graphs to display her findings.
Among the most significant of these were that just over half the respondents would encourage or do nothing to stop a fight if they came across it first and, more encouragingly, students would go to their friends and parents for help if they were bullied.
Kate created two resources - one to help parents if they had a child being bullied or who was a bully. The other was a poster or handout for students carrying the message, "Don't hide behind a smile - bring bullying out of the darkness".
Despite all her work and last year's success, she said she was "definitely surprised to win".
"I was not expecting that and almost bombed out under the pressure I was putting myself under while doing the project."
Winning a total of $700 for her efforts at the fair, she is considering using the prize money to buy a good camera to support her interest in art.
Kate's next task is to make a video entry for the national judging and the Genesis Energy Realise the Dream - five-to-10 minutes of footage explaining her project or centred on an interview. If she is successful and accepted, she will travel to Auckland to join other regional winners showcasing their exhibits and to Wellington for the prize-giving event.