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'Science Fair' has LI screening with teacher and students in attendance

Serena McCalla, center, who teaches and coaches science

Serena McCalla, center, who teaches and coaches science students at Jericho High School, is joined by former students who are featured with her in the film "Science Fair." Credit: Jeff Bachner

“Science Fair,” the acclaimed documentary about high school students competing at an international science competition, screens this weekend with live appearances from local figures who were featured prominently in the film. (Read our 4-star review here.)

Serena McCalla, a science teacher at Jericho High School, and several of her former students, will attend the screening Sunday at 6 p.m. at Huntington’s Cinema Arts Centre.

“Science Fair,” directed by Cristina Costantini and Island Park native Darren Foster, follows several students from around the world as they prepare for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, or ISEF, a prestigious yearly competition. The top winner receives a prize of $75,000 and, more importantly, worldwide recognition that could translate into college admissions and scholarships. The filmmakers chose a wide range of subjects: a Muslim girl from South Dakota, a German aerodynamics whiz, a couple from Brazil hoping to curb the Zika virus that devastated their impoverished hometown.

One of the film’s standout subjects is McCalla, whose no-nonsense teaching style and 24-7 dedication to her students has made Jericho High School a formidable competitor at ISEF for several years. In the film, McCalla’s students clearly appreciate her sky-high expectations and even her occasional tongue-lashing. As one of her Asian-American students remarks, “It reminds me of my life in China.”

Sunday’s screening includes a reception and a Q&A. For more information, go to

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