St. Vincent de Paul School embraces new science standards

By Special to the Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City implemented the Next Generation Science Standards in all Utah Catholic Schools this year. These new standards explore content at a deeper level, provide more hands-on science experiments, and include practices scientists use in the field.

Saint Vincent de Paul School, which in 1993 began supplementing its 5th- through 8th-grade science classes with a Hands-On Science Program, is embracing the new curriculum.

The Hands-On Science Program began thanks to a parent volunteer, Nick Wiser, said Gary Green, St. Vincent de Paul principal. “It has been running ever since by a group of dedicated volunteers from the parish, now under the coordination of Bill Benda. This school year, we will have six volunteers come into the school 20 times to work with our 5th- through 7th-grade students. With the NGSS standards, we are eager to supplement hands-on education grades K through 8th.”

Last spring, the school reached out to its supporters during its annual appeal drive to raise funds to purchase hands-on science materials and modules that support the new science curriculum. Alumni R. Russell Meyer, along with his wife, Marcy, took the appeal to heart and donated $10,000 to support the program.

This is not the first time that Russell Meyer has contributed to the sciences at Saint Vincent de Paul School. The first year the school opened, Meyer was in fifth grade and asked his teacher, Sister Lelia, why they didn’t have a science fair at the school.

“Russell was quite mature for his age, so I listened and told him we should try it,” Sr. Lelia said; a month later the first science fair was held at the school. It has continued every year since then.

“I have always had a love for St. Vincent and for science,” said Meyer.

This month the school will dedicate the science lab in his name.