Colin Norick wanted to do real chemistry experiments at Deer Park School - the sort where you mix chemicals and watch the reaction. But the school didn't have the necessary equipment.
So last summer, Norick, who was only 12 at the time, decided to write a grant proposal for the Plum Creek Foundation. School staff looked over the grant and sent it along, and the Foundation said it was nice but they didn't accept grant applications from students.
So lead teacher Dan Block and teacher Rhonda Stephens gave the grant some polish - dotted the i's and crossed the t's - and last week the Foundation sent the school a check for $8,000.
Now a very pleased Norick and his classmates can do science experiments until their hearts are content.
The grant will pay for five chemistry tables and chemistry sets, a propane-powered Bunsen burner, four physical science sets and 16 periodic tables.
Norick said prior to the grant funding, the small rural school had no chemistry sets, save for his own, which he brought from home.
"The students want to learn more than they can on the Web or in books," Stephens said.
That's putting it mildly. The Deer Park Science Fair is next week, and Norick's experiment focuses on splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Right now the process is inefficient, he notes - it takes more energy than it creates.
"My goal is to find a catalyst that works better than the best one we have now, which is cobalt nitrate," he said with a smile.
That might take a while. In the meantime, Norick hopes to write another grant that would help fund new computers at the school.