Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Visit To My Old High School

      Tuesday afternoon a friend and I had the rare privilege of being invited back for a tour of my old high school. Actually, it’s my alma mater, but it’s definitely not my old high school.
      In the first place, the name has been changed - we attended Manheim High School – now it’s called Manheim Central High School. Our old building has been practically abandoned, and the new one, now over 50 years old, is located on what was farm land way outside of town when we went there. Actually, only part of the building is over 50 years old – it has been augmented several times since its original construction.
      There were about 300 students back in 1946; now there are well over 1,000.
      Groups that shared a room in the old days: choral, orchestra (which we didn’t even have), drama, etc. now have separate rooms. The weight room for the football team is way bigger than the entire gym and auditorium combined in our old school.
      Each department of education: science, English, social studies, mathematics, etc. has a separate section of the building. Since this was the first visit either of us had made to the “new” building, we were very impressed.
      The reason we were invited back was because of a blog I wrote on March 29, There Is Life Outside Of Football, in which I complained that I never saw anyone from the school winning any prizes at the Lancaster Science Fair. In a later blog on April 3, An Apology To Manheim Central High School, I explained why that was. This visit was a followup so that I could see first hand what was going on.
      We spent quite a bit of time in the Advanced Placement Chemistry room. The kids, seven of them, were using what looked like Tinkertoys to make three-dimensional models of various molecules.
      The teacher, Seth Kensinger, was our guide for the tour, and he spent a lot of time explaining what the kids were doing, what the science program is all about, and answering any questions we had about the science curriculum.
      For the two of us, the experience was an education in itself. If anyone has any doubts as to the quality of the education kids are getting at MCHS, let me assure you it is top rate.
      Sir Isaac Newton had invented the calculus, and had formulated his laws of motion. One day he saw an apple fall from a tree. He wondered why the apple always fell toward the center of the earth; why not fall sideways or upward? He soon realized that if gravity extended as far out from the earth as, say, the moon, it must affect the moon’s orbit. Upon calculating how much of an effect earth’s gravity would have on the moon’s orbit, he came upon the concept that he called “universal gravitation.” Before Newton, probably millions of men had seen apples fall to the ground, but this was the first apple to change the world since one fell in the Garden of Eden.
      Introduction – The Spirit Runs Through It

      To read more excerpts from the book, click here.
      Also available on Kindle.

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