This year's science fair went to infinity and beyond

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Students participating in the High Plains Regional Science and Engineering Fair got an out of this world treat. The keynote speaker was a retired astronaut.

Middle and High School students filled the bleachers in the Goodell Gym at the School of Mines and Technology Tuesday as they listened to Capt. Winston Scott. Many of the students attending were excited about hearing from someone who actually went into space. Scott spoke about STEM fields, but knows each child is different and just wants them all to be the best in what they choose.

"Society is made up of all people and I want students to just do the best they can at something at which they're passionate and be successful in life. That's the main goal of my presentation," says Scott.

Scott says he's impressed with the work students are doing at such a young age. More than 720 students participated in the science fair with projects about cookie taste, tape durability, and renewable energy.

"I think I'll do pretty well, it's my first year so I think I'm going to be surprised with how I do," says 6th grader Sloane Keszler.

Another 6th grader, Declan Duffy says, ""It's my first year, I'm just kinda, you know, seeing what everything's like out here and stuff, but I mean, I'd like to see my project do well."

Serenity Engel, a senior at Hot Springs High School won first place in the science fair. She will compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona next month.