The Academy of Our Lady of Peace School is proud to announce its eighth grade finalists and winner of its 2011 Science Fair. Eighth graders Amanda Chin and Lauren Mahler tied for 3rd place, Kara Schwerdt was awarded second place, and the first place award was given to Michael Nitzsche. Michael was also named the overall winner of The Academy Science Fair.

For his project, Michael devised an experiment to determine whether a fish could teach another fish a learned behavior. Michael first trained a fish to swim through a hoop using a food reward system. He then introduced a second fish, which he did not directly train. Michael observed the second fish, to determine whether it would learn the behavior by watching the other fish, and respond to the reward given to the first fish whenever it swam through the hoop. Michael’s commitment to producing high quality scientific results is evident in the data collected through many hours of observing the fish, which proved that the second fish did not learn the behavior from the first fish. Finally, Michael eliminated the possibility that the second fish was incapable of learning the behavior, by teaching the second fish to swim through the hoop using a direct reward system, as he did the first.  Michael’s in-depth analysis and professional explanation convinced the judges that he deserved the top prize, overall winner of the 2011 Academy Science fair. Congratulations, Michael.

The Academy of Our Lady of Peace is a private Catholic School located in downtown New Providence with students in grades Pre-K3 through Grade 8. Offering a challenging academic curriculum and many enrichment activities within a religious atmosphere, The Academy of Our Lady of Peace strives to inspire and prepare each student to achieve their personal best. For more information, please visit or call the school office at (908) 464-8657.