As I made my way through the doors of the Kings Road School, I could tell that quite a vibrant and supportive community was out to celebrate their young scientists on Tuesday. The annual science fair was being held in the elementary school’s gym and some familiar faces could be seen in the packed crowd, including members of the Madison High School Physics Department. Mr. Matt Blackman, an AP teacher, was there to show off his robotics achievements and plant the seeds for a new generation of after school engineers. Mr. Largo, my Honors Physics teacher, was also in attendance to support a ten-year-old Mario fanatic that could blow me out of the water on anything physics related.
Henry Marinovic is no ordinary fourth grader though at first glance you’d have no idea he’s anything aside from the average fun-loving ten-year-old. An adamant follower of the Lego movies, he enjoys spending his free time playing Mario Kart games with his younger brother or running around with friends on playdates. You wouldn’t notice his talents until you came across a project designed at the level of high school Honors Physics on display at an elementary school science fair.
“He lives for Thursdays,” Henry’s mother, Amy Marinovic, explains. “He has math, Chess Club, violin, and then gets to leave early for Mr. Largo.” Young Henry is so far beyond the average fourth grader that he is almost finished with the entire high school physics program at Madison. He not only takes Honors Physics but also Pre-Calculus, having scored in the top 10 on the district’s AMC 10, an intense standardized test built for tenth graders that involves difficult math problem solving.
On top of that, Henry is a black belt in Tae Kwon Doe, an accomplished piano player, and unbeatable at chess. “I beat all of the robotics kids!” Henry exclaimed to me about his chess abilities. “It’s fun because if you make one mistake, you lose.” The ten-year-old invites competition.
The young genius’ project at the fair was, to my surprise, a project I had been working on in my own Honors Physics class a week or two ago. It was a colorful set up filled with motion diagrams, work-energy bar charts, kinematics graphs and sketches of the work. The assignment is essentially an egg drop where the student analyzes the different key factors to ensure an egg does not break when dropped within a toothpick and glue material structure. “It’s Not the Fall That Kills, It’s the Stop” was the clever title given to the project, referring to the period of time an object takes to stop on a surface being a crucial factor in whether it breaks or not. The work couldn’t have been done better by myself, regardless of the seven extra years under my belt.
“Where do we take him on this journey next? I really don’t know,” says Amy, a very proud mother. “It’s always complicated, but always a pleasure to figure it out.”
It’s safe to say Marinovic has a great future ahead of him.