State science fair: Egg project is put to the test

Patrick Louzan stood in the corner of the Middlebrook School gymnasium during the recent science fair. Quiet and modest, he answered questions confidently about his project, which asked if egg shells were porous.

They are indeed porous, and Patrick’s project was deemed “best in fair.”

“I was mainly shocked,” the seventh grader said. “I felt really good about my presentation. I won honorable mention last year, so I was hoping to do better this year.”

Patrick won a trophy for his effort, along with $100 and the right to compete in the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair, beginning Tuesday, March 12, at Quinnipiac University in Hamden. Prizes there include monetary awards, trophies, and a four-year scholarship to the university.

“We got chickens last March as chicks,” he said.

“I love them so much that I thought I should do something on them,” he added. “That’s when I thought about planning ahead so that I could do something about my science project. I try to put fun into everything I do. It was serious but it was fun.”

Patrick’s mother, Madeleine, is used to her son’s low-key demeanor.

“Patrick is very unassuming,” she said. “In school, he doesn’t look like a real risk-taker. I tell his teachers to just call on him. He’ll have the answers.

“I thought the project was great. Everything had to be perfect. It was very-consuming. He had a goal to win.”

Ms. Louzan lived in Wilton as a youngster but soon moved to a horse farm in Virginia, where she also raised chickens. That fact seemed to fascinate her husband, Bob, and the pursuit began to bring chickens to the family home on Belden Hill Road. She was supportive of their quest.

“Kids should be around farm animals,” she said.

Patrick and his father, whom he jokingly referred to as “Farmer Bob,” researched chickens online.

“They were born on a Monday and shipped to the post office on a Friday,” Ms. Louzan said.

Mr. Louzan expressed pride over his son’s success and the chickens.

“It was a big day when they gave us that first egg,” he said. “I still laugh when I see the trophy. It’s not something you expect.”

The fascination of the chickens, with names like “Yankee” and “Mickey,” in honor of baseball Hall of Fame star Mickey Mantle, speaks to the bond of this family with another passion: baseball.

While Patrick is a golfer whose nine-hole handicap is 10.4, it is clear he loves the diamond. He will soon try out for the Wilton under-13 travel team as a catcher.

He is like many New York Yankees fans when he says that Derek Jeter is one of his favorites, but it’s not every day that a young man speaks with such knowledge of Yogi Berra, the legendary Yankees catcher. He also counts Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants as a favorite.

When asked how many World Series rings Mr. Berra has won, Patrick is quick to answer: “Ten.”

Said his mother, “Every book upstairs in his room is baseball. If it gets someone reading, then it’s good.”

Among Patrick’s hobbies is the game Strat-O-Matic, in which each baseball player is given his or her own card with statistics. The game is played when a die is rolled and the result is played out via the corresponding information on the card. Patrick plays the game as the famed 1927 Yankees “Murderer’s Row” team of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

Some of this has helped sharpen his confidence, something his mother saw in person.

“Patrick has little twin brothers who are 4, Joseph and John,” she said. At one of Patrick’s league games, she continued, “I took them up to the press box behind home plate, and I asked who was catching. I was told that was Patrick. He owned that field.”

The Louzans have filled out the formal application to appear in the fair at Quinnipiac University. According to Ms. Louzan, only about half the winners in their individual school fairs choose to enter. Patrick is ready for the challenge.

“I felt really confident,” he said. “I hope to do the same thing at Quinnipiac. I want to win.”

While there might not be any more science fairs, Patrick still hopes for a new addition at home.

“Next year we’re hoping to have an alpaca,” he said.

His parents suggested that isn’t likely.

For more on the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair, visit ctsciencefair.org.