HomeOntario 5th grader’s project wins awards and inspires food allergy awareness

Ontario 5th grader’s project wins awards and inspires food allergy awareness

April 29, 2016


Reilly Leonard

When fifth grader Reilly Leonard heard there was going to be a Science Fair at his school, he knew what subject he wanted to explore: food allergies. So he created a project for his Simcoe County District elementary school about the science of food allergies, and the science behind staying safe.

Reilly gave a scientific overview of food allergies, then focused on the topic of preventing cross-contact, with various experiments, including one about the efficacy of handwashing versus using anti-bacterial wipes.

“His goal was to educate people about food allergies, including cross-contact and the best ways to prevent it,” says his mom, Sandy Leonard. “He achieved those goals and then some.”

Reilly’s project was popular with his fellow students and teachers, who want to become more allergy-aware. It also caught the attention of the community as he moved on to the regional level.

Reilly went on to win a Silver Medal in the Elementary Health Sciences category for the Simcoe County District science competition. He also received a special award from a local business honouring him for his contribution to children’s health.

Sandy, a longtime supporter of Food Allergy Canada, was as proud as any parent could be. “It was heartwarming to see him educating others about food allergies and anaphylaxis. And such a phenomenal experience to step back and watch him teaching adults and children new things about food allergies.”

She also noted that project inspired take-away discussions among the adults at the fair about allergies and food safety.

It was mission accomplished for Reilly, who summed it up like this: “My goal was to teach people about what kids like me deal with everyday. Winning awards was just a bonus.”

Way to go, Reilly!! We are so proud of you.


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