St. Joe teachers recognized

Published 12:36 am Sunday, September 21, 2008

Four St. Joseph Central Catholic High School teachers received The Ohio Academy of Science Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Youth Science Opportunities.

Ann Harvey, a health teacher; Joan Simon, a chemistry and physics teacher; Billie Cogan, a physics, chemistry, anatomy and physiology teacher; and Ruth Hopkins, a math teacher, all won an award for their efforts in teaching the 7th- through 12th-graders more than the basics of science.

The program consists of three points — a local science fair, a district science fair and an out of classroom activity.

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“Because of the competition of the world, we are an information based society,” Lynn Elfner, CEO of the academy, said. “The skills you learn in science help you to evaluate information.”

Simon said the program teaches the kids more than science.

“We’ve had kids get scholarships because they won at the state fair,” she said. “They go beyond the textbook information.”

Hopkins agrees.

“You want your kids to excel,” she said. “Giving them opportunities in science gives them the opportunity to excel and to do bigger things.”

Harvey said she has taken her students to see a cadaver at Shawnee State University.

“They get to study the body system and then get to hold it and touch it,” she said.

Harvey said the extensive science projects teach students responsibility and hard work.

“Most importantly, we instill good work ethic,” she said. “If nothing else, we are teaching them to be hard workers.”

Simon said students in her classes have experienced analyzing water samples in the county, the gravity of an elevator, hydroponics and other out-of-classroom activities.

She also said 11th- and 12th-graders taught 5th- and 6th-graders physics.

Simon said the science department at the school had come a long way since she started working there more than 25 years ago.

“(The lab) used to have nothing but tables,” she said. “It didn’t have running water. The kids had to pump it.”

The lab is now fully equipped because the community raised $40,000 for the science department.

The teachers said they are proud of their students and look forward to participating in the program every year.

Elfner said it is important teachers are awarded for their efforts in teaching inquiry-based science.

“It is routine work that every school ought to be doing,” he said.

Elfner said the academy has been presenting the awards since 1985 as a way of promoting the use of inquiry-based science.