Leanne’s story / Megan’s drawing : Science Fair experiences converge across time and space


© Megan Morman

© Megan Morman

I’ve been having fun reading the blog and everyone’s stories. It made me think:

I am really, really hoping that my high school science teacher will stumble across this blog so that he knows I’ve done something with my life. In Grade 12, at Forest Lawn High School (Calgary), I  asked if I could do a special project: tan a hide ‘the old-fashioned” way. The teacher, a lovely young man who encouraged self-discovery, agreed – and I trotted off to Maple Leaf Foods to buy me a cow hide.

They handed it over in a square box that was lined with plastic. I couldn’t lift it by myself. How was I ever going to get it onto the roof of the school, which is the only place that the principle would allow me to keep it?

I enlisted some friends to help me haul it into the car, then up the endless stairs to the bio lab, then through the window and finally onto the roof. It was exhausting, and after I opened the box and slid the fatty, bloody hide out onto the gravel and tar, we decided to head out to the river to cool down. It was Friday afternoon and we could not wait to get away.

I promptly neglected my project. Who wanted to stay after school and scrape fat when there was a river to swim in? A week went by, and then another. When my bio teacher asked how things were going, I would shrug and mutter something about waiting for some good tools.

One day I arrived at school and found that no one could get in – there was a health order stuck to the door. Apparently there was some awful odour in the halls and they couldn’t find the source. You guessed it – it was my rotting cowhide. The principle marched me upstairs and made me climb out the window – he insisted that I deal with it alone. I walked over to the hide, tried to pick it up, and found that it was still too heavy. However, when I threw it back down on the ground I realized that it was covered in maggots – and now those maggots were covering me. –Leanne Elias