Roles were reversed Saturday when Warsaw Community Schools students became the teachers at the sixth annual EdCom Expo.

Imparting what they learned on such an array of topics as dinosaurs and tornadoes to Lewis and Clark and special needs students, the students used skills such as teamwork, public speaking and technology to showcase their endeavors from the past year.

It all began at 9 a.m. in the Warsaw Community High School Tiger Den with the opening ceremony. As each school filed in, their school flag in tow, Assistant Superintendent Sandra Hess announced them. Parents, friends and spectators, numbering approximately 600, applauded the students as it was their day.

Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Nanette Burstein was the opening ceremonies guest speaker. Burstein is making a documentary, "American Teen," which centers on eight WCHS seniors. Her 1998 film "On The Ropes" earned her the Oscar nomination.

Burstein told the students she believed they should take risks all their life. Her film "On The Ropes" took three years to make and much commitment and hard work. The projects the students displayed Saturday required the same.

"I really want you to enjoy yourselves because you should be really proud of your work," Burstein said.

Warsaw Community Education Foundation Executive Director Christi Ganyard spoke briefly about WCEF, one of the financial supporters of EdCom.

"More than 2,500 students will learn through projects funded by Warsaw Community Education Foundation, but we'd like to do much, much more," Ganyard said.

After opening ceremony concluding remarks by Hess, the students, parents and appraisers were released to the presentations.

There were a total of six presentation times - at 9:45, 10:15, 10:45, 11:15, 11:45 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Additionally, several science fair projects were displayed upstairs in the Tiger Den and WCHS junior Alf Eherenman displayed his pottery wheel. This was the first year the science fair projects were showcased.

Eherenman made his spinning wheel from scratch. It took him about three months to design, engineer and build. Originally, he made the wheel for himself, but hearing about EdCom, he decided to show it at the Expo. For about an hour Saturday, he gave demonstrations. He said Jerry and Troy Fancil from Fancil Welding and Kenny and Chuck from Buhrt Engineering donated labor and material for his spinning wheel.

As there were about 30 presentations at 9:45 a.m. alone, it was difficult for anyone to catch all the presentations. Some of the presentations were longer than others, while others were more in-depth.

One of the presentations was "The Not So Last Ones" by Warsaw Community High School sophomore Kaci Smith. She created her project dealing with Barb Martz's special education room. She wanted to show that the special education students are just regular kids who, even though they may act and speak differently, "they really are a lot like us."

Her video presentation incorporated music with video and photographs of the WCHS special education students in the classroom, in the community and at jobs.

"As you can see," Smith says in the video, "each of these kids have different personalities and qualities that really make them who they are."

Also participating in the presentation with Smith were students Ronnie Shoemaker, Dea Drudge and Jordan Bollhoefer. Smith told the crowd at her presentation that they are regular kids. "Lots of time we judge them because they might be different, but when I go in the class, they don't judge me."

Smith also is a Peer Tutor at WCHS. Appraiser Tony Etienne recommended Smith show her presentation to the local elementary and middle school students. Hess invited her to show it to the school board.

Another presentation was by WCHS senior Doug Macdonald, who displayed his computer animation. It took him two to three months to create his mini-cartoon, using Flash MX2004 and other software. He reported he first started in animation in eighth grade.

Closing ceremonies for EdCom Expo 2006 began at 12:45 p.m. with a science show by Warsaw Teacher of the Year Mark McCollom. McCollom also gave the students some encouraging remarks and thanked parents for their support of their students' academics.

Carol Lyn Jansen and Sharon Gosnell presented this year's scholarship awards to WCHS students. Last year, two $100 scholarships were presented. This year, eight different scholarships of $250 each were handed out. The scholarship funds were financially supported by Hand Family Foundation, Jansen Orthopaedic Clinic, K21 Foundation, Tri Kappa Sorority, WCEF, Warsaw Morning Optimists, Warsaw Noon Optimists and Warsaw Rotary Club.

Scholarship winners included: Web site, Joe Blazek and Matt Rudkin; technical, Doug Macdonald; research, Benjamin Kawsky and Jillian Harrison, and Kaveh Akbar; health, Alicia Swank and Melissa Kawsky; general, Andy Tomasik; and community, Kaci Smith, Sam Smyth and Justin Evans.