21 March 2012


This young scientist is going places and we can't wait to hear all about it!  Well done Kayte!!

Article by Pendleton Post, Amanda Matlock, Staff writer, Pendleton

Inspired by personal struggles, EES student raises awareness of bone disorder

East Elementary School fifth-grader Kayte Hoppes didn’t have to look very far to come up with an idea for her science fair project. But now that project — which earned a top 10 points total at regionals — is taking her places and opening up a whole new world to her curious eyes. Kayte, who has a degenerative bone disorder, decided she wanted to take a look at chicken bones and how they could be manipulated. Kayte will get the chance to compete with her project at a state level science fair competition March 31 at IUPUI in Indianapolis. “I am very excited and I can’t believe I get to go,” Kayte said. “I can’t wait.”

Kayte was diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta at birth, and was born with 73 broken bones. She’s also had more than 14 surgeries to correct several bone issues. OI affects a gene that produces collagen, an important building block of bones.

Kayte, who turns 11 in May, wanted to study the effect calcium and collagen would have on bones and bring about greater awareness of her condition.

“I first got interested in this because of my bone disease,” Kayte said. “I started the project by placing four chicken bones in vinegar, four in bleach, one in water and one in milk,” Kayte said. “And then I left them there.”

Kayte found that the vinegar removed calcium from the chicken bones, making them soft, while the bleach removed collagen, making the bones hard. “The bones that had been placed in the vinegar were like rubber, I could twist them all around,” Kayte said. “And the bones from the bleach shattered when I touched them with a mallet.” Kayte said chicken bones are durable and should not have been able to shatter. “I then put the bones from the vinegar into the milk, and they actually got hard again,” Kayte said. “That was not the case with the bones from the bleach.” Kayte said like her bones, once the collagen was removed from the chicken bones, placing them in milk did not return them to normal. “In this case, the calcium from milk will not get my bones back to normal,” Kayte said. “That’s one reason why I get so frustrated when I hear people tell me to drink more milk.”
She also said her project, titled Calcium and Collagen Vs. Brittle Bones, helped her remain optimistic about her condition.

“This project gave me hope that there might be a cure one day,” Kayte said. “If I can manipulate bones like this, maybe doctors will figure out a way to fix my disease one day.” Kayte has even inspired her schoolmates to raise awareness for OI.

The whole school will be going [Wishbone Day] yellow for OI on Thursday, May 10,” Kayte said. “I think it’s great that everyone is learning about my condition. So many people don’t understand my bone disease, but this project helped the kids understand.” Kayte, who said she tries to remain optimistic about her diagnosis, said that winning and spreading awareness helped her feel better.

“There are ups and downs with this disease,” Kayte said. “But I heard someone tell me they were inspired after seeing my science fair project, and that makes me feel proud of who I am. This made me feel good inside.”

She also said the experience of the trip, not winning, was what she was looking forward to. “There are so many good things that have been happening in my life that I don’t care if I win,” Kayte said. “If I don’t win, it would really be OK with me. I don’t need to be first place. I’m just excited to get to meet so many new and exciting people.”

Robin Hurt, a sixth-grade teacher at East who helped plan the science fair, said Kayte’s personal connection to her project helped make it more meaningful.

“Everyone really loved Kayte’s project,” Hurt said. “I think that her passion and personal connection to her project made her more invested and contributed to her success.” She added that Kayte has always been extremely positive at school, even in the face of her bone disorder.

“I don’t think she gives it a second thought most days,” Hunt said. “This is part of who she is and she deals with the card she’s been handed the best way possible.”

Kayte’s mother Michelle also said her daughter’s positivity is something she’s very proud of. “She’s almost at her full adult height,” Hoppes said. “But she never complains and is always so positive. She’s just been an absolute blessing to our family.”

1 comment:

Val and Hannah said...

WAY TO GO KAYTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)