TOPEKA—As her fellow students worked on their science projects for the yearly district science fair, 6th grader Ashley Parker struggled to come up with a theme for her own project.
“My classmates had all these neat projects,” Ashley says, “There was a model of the solar system and a working volcano. But I was having trouble thinking of anything. I’m not real good at science.”
As the day of the fair approached, Ashley was becoming desperate. So she did what she always does when faced with difficult decisions: she prayed.
“No sooner had I closed my eyes and said ‘Dear Baby Jesus’ than I was hit like a slap to the back of the head,” Ashley recalls, “It was so obvious!”
Ashley simply went into the garage where her father stored the Christmas decorations and found what she was looking for: a miniature of the Nativity, carefully crafted and hand-painted by the artists at the Franklin Mint. After covering an empty shoe box with craft paper and filling the bottom with hay, Ashley sat the ceramic figurines in their proper places and her project was complete. It took all of ten minutes.
“I’ve always tried to teach my kids to work smarter, not harder,” says Roger Parker, Ashley’s father, with glowing pride, “That’s something that Ashley learned from an early age.
She also learned, through Kansas’s Creationist-based science programs, the true story of how the world was made. It was that attention to her class work that led her to ultimately win first prize.
“What’s so funny is that science is, like, one of my three or four worst subjects, “Ashley says, “But when you look at the projects the other kids were making it kind of makes sense. I mean, it’s not a science fiction fair.”