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Danielle Miller, Forum News Service, Published March 13 2013

Hankinson students remember mentor at science fair just days after teacher's death

FARGO - Around 200 young scientists filled the Benson Bunker Fieldhouse at NDSU Tuesday for the Southeast Regional Science Fair. This year was different than most. While students were trying to win the fair, they were also trying to cope with the unexpected loss of their beloved science teacher.

Hankinson, N.D., senior Dre Steinwehr, now a science wiz, was inspired years ago by Mr. Marcus Friskop. He's been entering his exhibits in this fair for six years.

“He had a major impact. I mean, I wouldn't be here without him," said Steinwehr, who took home the grand prize of an $18,000 scholarship.

A week ago Tuesday, Friskop suffered a brain aneurysm. He was rushed to a Fargo hospital, and died Sunday - two days before one of the events he loved most, this fair. He had been the fair organizer for 23 years.

"The thought that he wanted us to present well really gave us the motivation to give it our all for him," Steinwehr said.

Although Friskop isn't here physically, alumni made ribbons to make sure his spirit is felt throughout the fair.

“It’s him being with us here today," Steinwehr said.

“We all called him Mr. So that's why they say Mr," said Kayla Muehler, a fair volunteer and previous student.

Muehler says there wasn't any doubt the fair had to go on.

“He wants us to do this, and I know he's watching today and I know he's with us today and he's got the best seat in the house," Muehler said. "Because it always used to bother him that he didn't know how his students you know if they were answering their questions correctly and so today I think he can see and I think had be very, very proud.”

There isn’t any doubt the fair will go on for years to come.

“Always going to be in the back of our minds as we are doing this we will carry out this legacy for him," Muehler said.

Friskop's funeral will be held Wednesday at Hankinson High School.