Golden Apple Award winner Jack Leather takes class outdoors

Reported by: Joe Legge
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Updated: 8/13/2012 4:53 pm
Jack Leather loves to get out of the classroom...
And away from the text book.
On this day, he's turned the stream behind Heritage High into a laboratory.

He wants students to discover what's cool about environmental sciences and chemistry. "They all come in the classroom and say what are we going to blow up? And I say we're not going to blow anything up, but we do end up burning stuff. In fact today in chemistry class we did the flame test," says Leather.

Leather spends countless hours of his own time preparing labs for his classes. "It goes with the territory I guess, but I don't mind because they get a kick out of it."

He wants his students to have as many hands on opportunities as possible. Student Ryan Schlientz says "we're getting used to doing all the test so we can come out here and do it in 5 or 10 minutes maybe."

Leather fell in love with science nearly 40-years ago while in college.
He originally planned to be a shop teacher...
but, when it came time to declare a major, he discovered he had an abundance of science credits.

Student Caroline Walden says she "didn't hate science, but Mr. Leather definitely makes it more interesting." She respects Leather for his knowledge, attention to safety, and ability to take a tough topic and make it easy to understand. "To this day he still tries to make himself better and improve his teaching methods and as a scientist he does the same."

For Leather, teaching is not a job... it's a passion. "I hope I have some that will get fired up about the real world of science and things like that," says Leather.

Leather says he'll keep teaching until he gets it right...
And says he's still having fun trying to reach that goal.
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