Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A true friend

Here is the story of a life-long learner and someone who gives back in so many ways.

Retired GE engineer, Len Berube became a friend of the school when one of our trustees invited him to the annual auction.  He has a wood-working hobby and donated some beautiful boxes to be auctioned off.  He was intrigued by Parker's approach to education, and came to visit the school.

Len loved the hands-on nature of the learning and asked if he could bring his lathe to show students how to make a "dibble" -  a tool for planting bulbs.  The 2-3's were enchanted and each made a dibble of their own in science class.

After a conversation with our science teacher, Len began to collaborate with her on a STEM idea, and the Engine Project was born.  Sixth and seventh grade students took apart several combustion engines and put them back together with tools Len donated, capturing their imaginations and activating their love of tinkering.

Len then contacted Plug Power, a leader in hydrogen fuel cell systems located in Latham, about an even bigger idea.  Their engineers jumped on board and after Len did an internship at the company, he facilitated a fuel cell project that lead to students' presentations on using renewable power for humanitarian purposes.

This morning Len gave all the students at Parker an extraordinary bench he made with them in mind.  It comprises nine kinds of exotic woods and contains a compass rose, four hearts, scientific symbols, and secret compartments for time capsules.  It is inscribed: to Parker Academic Explorers and will be treasured for years to come.

Lenny's creativity and generosity have brought the school many gifts, not the least of which is his passion.  He has opened doors, fostered community friends and partnerships, and given of his talents.  (He also brought cake.)

Thank you, friend!
I am admiring Len's workmanship!
The bench is made of Filipino mahogany, eucalyptus,
Brazilian cherry, South American  mahogany,
North American red and white cedar and white pine,
Peruvian walnut and African purple heart.

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