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Fairchild Challenge at Phipps: Challenge #1 Winners Announced!
Nov 11

Fairchild Challenge at Phipps: Challenge #1 Winners Announced!

By Jennifer Torrance, Science Education Coordinator

Thank you to the many schools that submitted entries for Challenge #1!  This first challenge of the 2022-2023 school year was titled “A Stroll Through the North Pole.”

Elementary, middle and high school students combined both writing and visual arts skills in their submissions. This project challenged students to create a set of three to ten arctic animal sculptures made entirely from recycled, repurposed, and found materials.  The students then had to write brief conservation plans discussing the arctic animals they chose to sculpt and how people can protect those animals. The students did an amazing job!  We were astounded by the creativity and pizzazz that students put into their sculptures. The essays that the students submitted were well-researched and thoughtful. Select sculptures from this challenge will be exhibited during our Winter Flower Show in the Gallery Room.

And the winners are:

Elementary School (Judges' Choice)

Turtle Creek Elementary STEAM Academy

Tenth Street School

Acmetonia Elementary

Queen of Angels Catholic School


Middle School

First: Freeport Area Middle School; Caty Deacon, Natalie Wallisch, Ethan Eberle, Owen Westendorf, Ben Frantz, Josh McClymonds, Zach Radio, Kyle Bodily, Tessa Ladouceur, Hannah Hinderliter, Lilly Shoupe, Sophie Thaemert, Paige Lithgow, Ava Pietrolaj, Marshall Kapp, Caden Patterson, Emma Gray, Ella McConville, Josephine Spehar, Emma Charlton, Mackenna Dorian, Mackenzie Miller

Second: Trafford Middle School; Alex Serapiglia, Delaney Race, Elena Southern, Elsie Ley, Ellasyn Tautkus-Berry

Third: Dickson Preparatory STEAM Academy; Kinley Ebbitt, Chloe Mehalic, Lydia Brown, Charlotte Kovach, Leela Norman, Arianna Sheffey, Elodie Willett

Special Merit: Archangel Gabriel Catholic School; Malley Woynar, Piper White, Jack Turina, Anntonella Sueiras, Danica Patterson, Maria DelFiandra, Milan Brough

Special recognition noted by judges for Malley Woynar’s snowshoe hare

Special Merit: Penn Middle School; Brayden O’Connor, Maddie Barton, Madi Gavrish, Carter Blasi, Brayden Cain, Elle LeJeune, Sammy Seech, Sydney Mularski, Cienna Oien, Liam McCabe, Riley Joyce


High School

First: The University School; Scott Campbell, Lilly Perelman, Katja Popovic-Grant, Mickey Rectenwald, Blake Sudaric, Rachel Weiland

Second: Shaler Area High School; Kylie Clark, Riley Petrovich, Charlie Rudolph, Natalie Ondo, Allie Rall, Sophia Duty, Grace Helbling, Gabi Exler, Braiden Bartkins, Sam Ruano, Rose Molnar, Ava Zehner, Delaney Zagger

Third: Penn Trafford High School; Mark Harris, Kristina Heins, Kate Malley, Delena Steimer, Marissa Fong, Mya Malloy, Victoria Davis

Special Merit: Gateway High School; James Richmond


We received an overwhleming number of entries for this challenge this year! Congratulations to the following schools for having one or more of your ornaments chosen to be displayed in the Winter Flower Show: Acmetonia Elementary, Archangel Gabriel School, Avonworth Middle School, Borland Manor Elementary School, Carson Middle School, Central Catholic High School, Curtisville Primary Center and East Union Intermediate Center, Dickson Preparatory STEAM Academy, Edgewood Elementary STEAM Academy, Environmental Charter School, Elizabeth Forward Middle School, Freeport Area Middle School, Gateway Elementary, Gateway High School, Ingomar Middle School, Mars Area High School, Marshall Middle School, North Hills Middle School, North Strabane Intermediate School, Keystone Oaks Middle School, Penn Middle School, Penn-Trafford High School, Queen of Angels Catholic School, Shaler Area High School, South Central and Wylandville Elementary Schools, The University School, Tenth Street Elementary, Trafford Middle School, Trinity Area Elementary and Middle Schools, Turtle Creek Elementary STEAM Academy, West Mifflin Area High School, and Wilkins Elementary STEAM Academy


We would like to give a special shout out to our panelists: Douglas Florey (Phipps Volunteer and Master Gardener), Abby Krick (Interactive Marketing Coordinator and local artist/owner of A. Krick Art), Kelliann Walsh (Discovery Education Manager), and Alyssa Mulé (Research and Science Education Administrative Assistant). Thank you for lending us your time and expertise!


Have questions? Contact Jennifer Torrance at or 412/622-6915, ext. 3230.


Developed by the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami, Fl., and adopted by Phipps as a satellite partner in 2008, The Fairchild Challenge offers a menu of interdisciplinary challenges for grades K-5, 6-8 and  9-12, attracting students of diverse interests, abilities, talents and backgrounds. The Challenge empowers young people to engage in civic life and encourages them to become energetic and knowledgeable members of their communities.