Sulphur Springs Valley Cooperative (SSVEC) is wrapping up its 40th Youth Engineering & Science (YES) Fair in Cochise County. The three-day event concludes Friday night with an awards banquet.

Kristin Gray, community relations manager for SSVEC, says they have $38,000 worth of prizes to hand out from the SSVEC Foundation. SSVEC uses capital credits from former members who they can’t contact, either because they have moved away or they are no longer living, for the foundation.

We believe that science and engineering is essential for our community growth, Gray said.

Julian Hansen is a sixth-grader at Cochise Elementary School. He had one of the 130 projects in this year’s far.

Hansen said he has always wanted to attend.

I knew it was very fun to do the YES Fair, because of all the people to meet, and I just decided I was going to make a good enough project to come here, Hansen said.

In his first YES fair, he built bridges made of Popsicle sticks and tested how much weight each design could hold before breaking. Hansen said he wanted to try this experiment because he likes to build things and liked that this project allowed him to get outdoors.

I didnt think Popsicle sticks were that strong and I didnt know you could make a bridge out of them that would support that much weight, he said.

His project earned the first place ribbon in the fifth-and-sixth grade energy and engineering category.

Since my parents helped me a lot, I knew itd be good, but I didnt think itd get this far,” Hanson said. “I think of it as having a good project and having the courage to come back next year and try and do it again.”

SSVEC will conclude this year’s fair with an awards banquet Friday night. The top five finishers in each of the high school categories will find out where they finished at the banquet. Anthony Sarinana, a ninth-grader at Veritas Christian Community School said this fair helped build his confidence and learn how A.I. can be used for good.

Learning about STEM helps you learn about not only things that may be interesting, but things you may need to know about in your future; and just gives you a better understanding of the world, he said.

Gray says while 40 years is a huge milestone, SSVEC hopes there’s more than 40 more years of the YES fair here in Cochise County, because it’s inspiring students to find a passion for science, technology and other STEM-related careers.