Blue-ribbon kid

Darin Tietz

Photo By sarah hubbart

The next generation of Einsteins put hypotheses to the test at the 25th annual Chico Science Fair, which brought in more than 700 competitors from 31 area schools. Nearly 500 display boards showcased projects on a range of topics from mold-growing bread to homemade hovercrafts. Darin Tietz, a fourth-grader from Chico Country Day School, took home both a first-place blue ribbon and a purple rosette for his project, appropriately titled “Which Fruits Have the Most Vitamin C?” For it, he compared results from 10 fruits using a starch and indicator solution that he made at home. He ranked the solutions according to clarity; the clearer the liquid, the more vitamin C inside. Darin, a 9-year-old who was quick to point out he’ll be turning 10 in August, wasn’t too pleased to find that one of his least favorite fruits—the papaya—had the highest vitamin content, but had a big smile on his face at the award ceremony on April 3. (For more information on the Chico Science Fair, visit

So, what was your project about?

I tested fruit juices to see which one had the most vitamin C. I thought that oranges had the most, since you drink it when you are sick, but my results said that papayas had the most. The FDA says that kiwis actually have the most, so my results were a little off.

Did that surprise you?

Not really; I thought kiwis would be third.

Is this your first science fair project?

Yeah, it was pretty fun. I’m probably going to do it again.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I think I want to be a teacher … my mom and dad both are.

What do you like about science?

I like how all of a sudden it will do something out of the ordinary.

Is science your favorite subject in school?

It’s my second favorite. My first is math. I like to play with numbers.

What do you like to do when you aren’t in school?

I pretty much like all sports … except basketball.