Editor's Note- This fictional story is a part of a continuing series that aims to explore various educational issues. However, the Random Science thought of the day is real and the MacGyver story is real. Cindy Cohen a HS Science teacher does this with her students. As for the MacGyver anecdote that dates back to my High School days.
By Jacob Gutnicki
Every day she logs on to her computer and posts a random science thought of the day. From Hurricane Earl to Katrina it is all here connected with the tools that engage students. Recently she wrote, “Hurricanes that are hundreds of miles away can still cause high ocean waves.” On another day she posted, “Force equal mass times acceleration. A truck has far more mass than a car. That is why getting hit by a truck going at 30 miles an hour would be far more painful than getting hit by a car at 30 miles an hour.” The students always appreciated her posts and many productive comments and discussions would follow the post.
After posting she typically wrapped a bandana around her head, slipped into her stockings, stepped into her boots, and headed for the car in the driveway anticipating another day at Burrhus Frederic Skinner High School. However, today would be very different for Cecelia Kool. It was her last day at the school as tomorrow she began her new venture; the start of the Thomas Elkins School of Invention.
This school would begin by servicing grades 9 and 10 and over a period of 5 years it would also service the K-8 grades as well as grades 11 and 12. Additionally, her school would encourage Special Needs students to join the school and offer various hands-on internships and job based programs. For a long time it was her dream to design a school and a accompanying curriculum that taught through the exploration of famous inventions, build similar contraptions, and produce futuristic inventions. The timing was right. Her children were all grown up. Her husband Joe Kool was very supportive and helped her obtain the community support needed for this project. Never the less, she dreaded this day. It was hard to say farewell to her students and colleagues.
As she walked the hall everyone wished her good luck and told her that she would be sorely missed. Even Michael Lotta the new Assistant Principal would only speak kind words. In fact, if you looked closely, for a brief moment it looked like Michael had a tear in his eye. For those who really knew Michael it was not so surprising. Beneath that gruff exterior laid a decent man who still cared about the kids. He just believed that being tough was important as it prepared students for the real world. Yet even Michael would never speak ill of his colleague Cecilia. He understood her way was reaching children. Quite often he had said, if more teachers had Cecilia’s magic, I would not have to do what I do.
Later that day, a luncheon was held in her honor. Teachers and student alumni shared stories of what this great woman did for the past 25 years. One student alumnus shared how every week she dissected the MacGyver television show and would recreate the contraptions showcased. The student further related how this inspired him to go to med school. As the afternoon ensued other stories were related and by the end of the luncheon there was not a dry eye in the room.
Soon enough the day would end. Cecilia dipped into the pocket of her raincoat, pulled out her SmartPhone, and wrote the following status update;
“To my students and colleagues. Thank you for a wonderful 25 years. As I embark on this new journey, I leap forth with excitement to what the future brings but will miss you terribly so for your companionship has meant so much to me. Keep strong and continue to inspire all those that surround you.”
And so it was. Cecilia left the building, entered her car, and could be heard humming;
“So many faces in and out of my life,
Some will last, some will just be now and then.
Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes-
I'm afraid it's time for goodbye again.”
Additional Editor's Note- This story is dedicated to all the great teachers who keep on working tirelessly for our children.