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St. Joseph High School gets science award

St. Joseph High School did it again. This is at least the 15th year the school has received the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Youth Science Opportunities. This award is for the work the students and teachers did during the 2009-2010 school year in the areas of science and math. Across the state, 115 schools and 418 teachers received the awards.

The following teachers of St. Joseph were honored: Ann Harvey, Joan Simon, Chris Monte, Ruth Hopkins, Sissy Clyse, Billie Cogan, Cindy Brown and Clyde Plank.

The school and the teachers who were involved in math and science were awarded a certificate.

“Receiving a Governor’s Award for Excellence sends a clear signal that these schools and teachers value student-originated, inquiry-based science education as outlined in the Ohio Science Education Standards and in the National Science Education Standards,” said Lynn Elfner, the Academy’s CEO, in a press release. “Whole new worlds of opportunities open up to students when they complete research or technological design projects.”

Joan Simon teaches physics, chemistry and biology for ninth through 12th graders. Simon said to qualify for the award, students of the school have to enter a science fair. The winners then advance to the regional competition.

“Ours is at Shawnee University,” Simon said. “Once you go to region, you qualify.” Simon said the state will then send a letter and ask for a list of the science activities the students are involved in beyond classroom activities.

“From Shawnee, you go on to state, and we’ve had many state winners in the past,” Simon said. “The kids who win are really interested in science. The fairs are not during school time. They are giving up their Saturdays to do it.”

Simon said she is really proud of the students for doing the best they can.

“We can’t always win, but as long as they do the best they can, we’re happy,” Simon said.

Simon said the science and math programs at the St. Joseph High School are very good, with many of the seniors taking calculus, physics and Chemistry II, which is taught from a college level chemistry textbook.

“I love to watch the students as they do really difficult problems and get them right,” she said. “They smile and grin and are really excited when they do it.”

One of the best parts for her is when they come back to visit after they are in college and have felt prepared.

“When they come back and tell us, ‘Oh, we had it before. It wasn’t that big of a deal for us’,” she said.