LS: Speaking of Science Column December 22, 2008

Math & Science Center’s tribute for Christmas

Robin Maddox, operations manager at the Western Colorado Math & Science Center,  revised this well-known poem for fun and as a way of saying thanks to all the students, teachers, parents, volunteers, and especially to John McConnell, for making the center a success.

“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the center
Not a creature was stirring — not even a mentor.
The pendulums were hung in their cases with care,
In hopes that fourth-graders soon would be there; 
Derek was waiting to do something neat,
With visions of children nestled snug in their seats;
And Audrey with her bucket and John back from the store,
Had just settled down to scrub the white floor.
    When out in the parking lot there arose such a clatter;
John sprang to the door to see what was the matter.
Away to the exit, he flew in a hurry,
Even causing a cockroach to hiss and to scurry! 
When what to John’s wondering eyes should appear,
Not one, but four buses, parked in the rear.
“Robin!” he yelled, so lively and quick;
“Did we know they were coming?! I think I feel sick!’ ” 
More rapid than eagles his volunteers came
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name.
“Now Maurice! Now Vincent! Jack R. and Jack C.!
On Barbara! On Eric! On Walt and Larry! 
“To the bubbles and bugs!
To the magnets and gears!
To the Van de Graff!
Thank you! You’ve saved me from tears!” 
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So in through the back door, the students they flew;
With their minds full of wonder, and a question or two. 
And then in a twinkling John entered the scene,
For the boys and the girls, their eyes all agleam.
“Hello there!” he said. “We’re so glad you could come!
“But there are just a few rules before you start having fun.” 
He warned them of ink tracks, air cannons, but to proceed,
He told them most importantly “You have to READ!”
And so off they went to search and explore,
Over 100 exhibits that filled up the floor. 
There were sound waves and circuits,
There were marbles and mirrors,
There were frogs, there were spiders.
And even plasma spheres! 
There were crickets and fish,
There were prisms for light,
A full weather station
For tracking storms out of sight! 
Marshmallows, X-rays,
and gamma radiation,
The students all agreed —
“This place is full of information!” 
But then so sadly,
All good things must end.
And the children waved good-bye
To their very special friend. 
“Mr. McConnell, you’re great!
Thanks for helping us learn!”
And the teachers thanked him, too,
And promised they’d return. 
John whispered to himself
As the children left the school
“It’s all been worthwhile,
math and science are cool!”

Robin Maddox graduated from the University of Vermont with a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and was an officer in the U.S. Air Force for eight years.

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