On Commencement Weekend Friday at 2:10 p.m., the 3rd floor hall of the Delphian main building was filled with donors and guests. Delphian Headmistress Rosemary Didear thanked the donors by name who contributed to the new science lab and referred to a plaque (which hangs on the wall next to the lab door) thanking the largest of the donors. The most “scientific” donors were the Holyfield family, the Dayton family, and the June Li and Yan Ke family, not to slight many other donors who made the upgraded science lab possible.
At precisely 22:10 Greenwich Mean Time (2:10 p.m. Pacific Standard Time), (A) an organic cotton string infused with a mixture of saltpeter, charcoal and sulfur, which burns at a rate of two feet per minute, which is glued to a (B) 100-millimeter-wide organic protein (silk satin) ribbon, (C) which when encouraged to rapidly oxidize (burn) (D) by Delphian Headmistress Rosemary Didear using (E) C4H10 (butane) as a fuel, separates at the burn line into two parts, lowers when attracted by gravity, and opens the way for educators, donors (F), parents, and students to enter the new science lab at the Delphian School.
Headmistress Didear then lit a fuse glued onto the 4-inch ribbon that was draped across the lab doorway. Pyrotechnics are so much more interesting than mere scissors. The fuse burned through the ribbon, making way for a festive group of educators, parents, students, and donors, in Sheridan from all over the world for Commencement Weekend, to inspect the Delphian School’s new science lab. From Bunsen burners to anatomical models, from a GPS telescope to a web-enabled weather station, from physics experiment modules to birds and fish and turtles, this science lab was designed from floor to ceiling by Delphian’s long time Science Chair Marty Shaw and his comrade-in-test-tubes, James Horton.
2012 Graduate Serene Pal teaches the basic operation of this Celestron GPS-enabled telescope. GPS technology allows easy location of celestial bodies often Fabian with traditional technology. This Celestron was generously donated by the BigByte Learning Institute of Taiwan. The Delphian School and the Institute have a relationship of long standing with many BigByte students attending here annually.
Students ran to their stations and demonstrated the new telescope, the fume hood (which vents smoke and gases to the roof), the chemistry heaters/stirrers, the physics gears, ramps, and levers, the data collection area where a microphone was displaying a graph of voices on the computer screen, and a microscope area where slides could be viewed by any number of the curious via a computer monitor.
Many people commented on how beautiful this new lab is. But more important than its beauty is how functional this lab is with 13 propane outlets available; with over 70 linear feet of counter for students doing chemistry experiments; with 44 linear feet of surface for students doing physics experiments; with the four digital microscopes on almost 12 linear feet of counter; with four, eight-foot butcher block tables where students can write up their reports; and almost 12 linear feet of counter for students to work on their digital data probes and collection equipment; and finally a new digital, Celestron GPS-oriented telescope that makes finding and following celestial objects easy.
Parents of 2012 Graduate Alison Wilson, David and Bonita, are instructed by Form 6 student Daniela Ovando in the finer points of measuring time and speed. Looking on is a young visitor to the school.
The study methodology that underpins a Delphian education is what distinguishes the Delphian from other great schools.
The importance of doing things, not just reading about things has long been a staple of any superior educational institution. But the study methodology around which the Delphian curriculum is written greatly enlarges that doing of things activity at every grade level. Thus the old science lab was one of the favorite locations in the school for almost every Delphian student. If those walls could talk, the “Oh, that’s what it is!” from students bewildered by everything from the actual look-and-feel of calico cloth worn by a character in a novel to those seeking a distant celestial body. And their guide to these realizations, Marty “Mr. Wizard” Shaw, is as beloved to those students as the old counters and cabinets in the hallowed science lab of old. The new lab may sport only twice the square footage, but through careful planning, it accommodates three times the number of students in any one class period. The new lab has not yet built the “Ah ha!” memories with which the old lab was replete, but they will come. Moved from the back of the building to the front, with vistas of the Yamhill River Valley, the new lab is a bright, aesthetic, and functional room where students will be rejoicing with “Oh, now I understand!” for many years to come.
Science Chair Marty Shaw (right) demonstrates how students can measure time, speed, and acceleration to Delphi parent and Science Lab donor Brad Oliver.
Delphian School is a premiere, international, K-12 day and boarding school, celebrating 36 years of its unique proficiency-based, self-paced educational methodology, including college preparatory, English-as-a-Second-Language, and summer programs. Delphian School is an accredited member of the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools and an accredited member school of the Northwest Accreditation Commission. The school is an active member of the Oregon Federation of Independent Schools and the school is licensed to use Applied Scholastics educational services. Delphian School’s 800-acre campus is located southwest of Portland in the abundant Willamette Valley, heart of Oregon’s family-friendly wine country.