CSI at Cairo High School

By Kate Gaier
5:00 pm November 15, 2006

They're crime scene investigators eager to break the case, talented teenagers analyzing DNA to nab the suspects who snaked the cake.

CSI at Cairo High School? That's right. DNA specialists have been called in to solve the case of the missing cake in Mrs. Hand’s biology class.

Thanks to a grant donated by Richard and Teresa Vanlandingham, students will have all the needed equipment at their fingertips to break the case.

Mr. Vanlandingham said, "We wanted to invest in that and give these students an opportunity to do things that maybe they wouldn't get to do otherwise."

Hilary Chester is testing suspects' DNA, trying to find out who done it. Chester says the practice she's getting in the lab will put her a step above the rest once she leaves high school.

"I love the fact that we're able to do this because this is what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a forensic scientist," said Chester.

These students are testing real DNA using equipment similar to that found in a real crime lab.

Jennifer Hand, the biology teacher who arranged the lab, said, "When we teach DNA, before, because we didn't have equipment, a lot of what I showed them was on video or just paper model cutouts, and it's not as exciting to them."

Marilyn Barnes, a senior at Cairo High School, added, "All you’re doing is taking the DNA, dying it, putting it in a gel, running an electric current through it."

Just like that, and just like in the show, the DNA points to the guilty party, but unlike the show CSI, students have to wait until tomorrow to find out the culprit in the classroom.