July 2023 Volume 19

A Joyous Occasion for KC at the 1967 Science Fair

Michael O Walters
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It was a joyous occasion to a group of KC 6 th Formers, including a prominent Jamaican featured in the April 2023 edition (KC Times | Prominent Old Boy calls for Initiative to Build Auditorium at KC), receiving a trophy for winning the Science Fair at the one-year old National Arena in 1967. The title of the KC entry was a simple one word: “Blood”. Well, how did we pull it off?

In the weeks prior to the Science Fair, a core group of us spent time in the zoology lab diligently presenting ideas and preparing. Since blood was the topic, our exhibit included an elaborate schematic and a model showing the blood circulatory system of the human body. Plastic tubing represented veins, and arteries, a heart including valves was constructed out of rubber, and we had gallons of real blood to demonstrate the circulation. Yes, the blood was real, but was not of human origin. Some of our crew made a trip to the Kingston abattoir where cattle were slaughtered to collect the precious stuff. Of course, it was a bloody mess as some turned their backs to the operation but a few were willing to stomach the large gushes of blood that flowed into our jars.

I recalled us making a centrifuge so we could fractionalize the blood into red blood cells, plasma, and platelets. The centrifuge was a contraption that we made with a motor that spun arms spanning about one foot diameter, with test tubes with blood attached to the periphery of each arm. There was nothing protecting the mechanism and at times we had to duck and clean up the blood as a test tube broke loose, hit the wall, and splattered its contents. Since oxygenation of blood was an important item one of our crew found himself on a bus travelling to Ferry to purchase a tank of oxygen.

During the fair, we squeezed the rubberized heart bulb to demonstrate the pumping of the heart and blood circulation through heart chambers (auricles and ventricles) and the arteries and veins. To add a personal touch for our audience, we pricked fingers, and determine the blood type of our sometime squeamish volunteers. We worked hard but had fun, enjoyed meeting students from other schools, especially the girls. We were very proud of our accomplishments back in 1967.

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