Helping students advance is the cool thing to do

The ‘coolest’ biology lab.”

That Independent front page headline under the photo of two Marshall High School students leaning over their lab project said it all for those wondering where today’s education is heading.

The lab had nothing to do with the traditional dissecting frogs. It had everything to do with preparing students for potential job opportunities. Biology education can lead to so many types of jobs that provide solid financial careers.

In this case, Marshall High School science teacher Holly Knudson led her advanced placement biology students in the lab based on a real life case from the Centers for Disease Control. Her students were tasked to find out which food item at a party was responsible for causing sickness.

One of the participating students, Lexi Schnaser, called the learning experience “the coolest one we’ve done.”

That cool lab, however, wouldn’t be possible without some help from community members who are devoted in giving students in Marshall the needed tools for advanced learning. The kind of learning that will help students compete for the top spots in college and eventually those well-paying jobs.

Knudson, according to the article, attended a summer workshop for instructors who teach advanced placement biology class. She knew her students would “love” this type of opportunity. But the equipment needed for this type of technology is costly.

A dedicated teacher, Knudson considered paying for the equipment out of her own pocket. But her boss, Principal Brian Jones said they would write a grant for the equipment. And that is where the Pride in the Tiger Foundation stepped in.

The Pride in the Tiger Foundation, according to its mission stated on its web site, says it seeks to provide, “…financial and other support for activities and extraordinary educational programs supporting our children’s personal growth and development in their pursuit of excellence.”

The foundation matched general funds to buy the equipment. According to its executive director, Janel Wartner, the foundation recently awarded $23,959 for its October Fund Use Classrooms grants.

In the case of Knudson’s biology class, the foundation completed its mission. That is way cool.