Retired science teacher saves Oklahoma State Science Fair

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ADA, Okla. - The Oklahoma State Science Fair is the 'World Series' of science competitions in the Sooner State.

It is a showcase in robotics, medicine and meteorology.

"For a lot of kids who don't participate in athletics, this is their time to shine," said Elizabeth Allan with the Regional Science Fair at UCO.

However, $38 million in cuts to the 'Public School Activities Fund' meant the annual science competition would be eliminated.

"We had art cut, then music and now it looks like science," said Oklahoma Rep. Mickey Dollens. "Eventually, it's going to be football and basketball teams, and then you'll see an uproar."

The news was infuriating to retired dentist and teacher James Young.

"I saw a piece on KFOR," Young said.

Young taught chemistry, physics and biology.

He knows what science fair participation can mean for these kids, so he decided to do something about it.

"This is just as important as any of the other activities in school. I knew that because I used to be a science teacher. I saw what that opportunity did for the students to learn the scientific methods. I said I will send you a check for $50,000 because I don't want this to go away," Young said.

Young said his financial sacrifice is an investment in the future of science.

"I've been retired for quite a while, and I've saved money. I can do this at least one time. And, so I'm going to do it," Young said.

The check is already in the mail, ensuring opportunities for Oklahoma science students at least one more year.

Young hopes other citizens and corporate sponsors will step in and fund the competition beyond 2018.

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