Goshen High School teacher Carl Weaver has created one of the most successful science program in the United States, and we, on behalf of the thousands of students who have experienced the program, thank him.
This past spring break Weaver was in the Florida Keys leading his marine biology trip for students. It was his 40th such undertaking. Big number anniversaries are worthy of celebration, but in this case we also marvel, as well as celebrate, that students and other GHS staffers have embraced this program for four decades.
Sure, it’s fun to go to Florida for spring break, but in this program the students and staff spend a week doing research, studying the marine organisms they find, keeping copious notes and learning, learning, learning. That’s a much tougher schedule that requires dedication compared to the usual fun and frolic of a spring break trip.
This combination of fun and study that Weaver has created is what is needed throughout the nation to draw more students into science fields. Science is certainly not boring and bright students sometimes need to simply be exposed to the possibilities of scientific inquiry to move them toward a lifetime career.
Oh, by the way, the trip is not open to just any GHS student whose parents have the cash to pay for the trip. Students earn their way into the marine biology program by taking advanced biology at Goshen High School. That course in itself is a challenge, but students must also take a series of Saturday morning classes to familiarize themselves with scientific techniques used in studying marine life.
After a 24-hour ride from Goshen on a mini-school bus, students stretch, work out their neck kinks and don snorkels and fins to begin searching the sea for unique forms of life. This last trip they found coral, sea fans, parrot fish, barracuda, conch, lobsters, rays, blue tanks and some even saw a nurse shark. The students also studied water quality, fossils preserved in a quarry, mangroves, mudflats, a rocky coastline, crabs, sea cucumbers, bristle worms and octopuses.
Weaver certainly had a good idea 40 years ago when he created the marine biology program. It has exposed thousands of students to the best aspects of inquiry for the sake of learning something knew.
And for the past few years the program has expanded to include the International Baccalaureate art class. Those students record the marine life that is studied, showing there is often a link between art and science.
We think the Goshen community is fortunate to have the marine biology trip available for students. We also think the community is fortunate to have Carl Weaver, and many other local teachers, who show initiative and innovation in moving students beyond their classrooms and textbooks into practical applications of what they are learning.
Again, thank you Mr. Weaver.