Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Chocachatti Elementary's Ruth Markham a finalist for science teaching award

Ruth Markham was surprised by dignitaries announcing her as one of three Florida finalists for the national award.


Ruth Markham was surprised by dignitaries announcing her as one of three Florida finalists for the national award.

BROOKSVILLE — Ruth Markham's students were busy organizing their science folders when the door to her classroom opened and in walked district superintendent Bryan Blavatt, assistant superintendent Sonya Jackson, curriculum supervisor Jeff Yungmann and School Board members.

Markham, a science resource teacher at Chocachatti Elementary School, was shocked when Yungmann handed her a dish garden colored with fresh flowers and told her it was from the National Council of Science Supervisors to help her celebrate her selection as one of three Florida finalists in the 2010 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Markham is vying for the award for outstanding work in the classroom and as a professional in the K-6 division. The National Science Foundation administers the awards on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

"I don't know what to say," the astonished Markham said.

Her class applauded, and Blavatt said: "The kids all know she's great. We're really pleased. We feel very fortunate we have great teachers. It's really important to have a love of science."

It's the teachers, he said, that impart that love.

Markham also was presented with a $50 dinner gift card from the National Council of Science Teachers and a certificate of appreciation from the district.

Markham was nominated by a friend, and then submitted an application packet, accompanied by a 45-minute video of her students at work in the classroom. They did a hands-on lab to design and test a boat.

"It really turned out well," Markham said.

Next, a national selection committee will review her application. The panel will recommend up to one math finalist and science finalist per state or jurisdiction.

Finalists will be submitted to the president and invited to the White House for awards and recognition.

As a state finalist, Markham will be recognized at the Florida Association of Science Teachers fall conference in St. Augustine. The Florida finalist chosen to go to Washington, D.C., will be announced in the spring.

Lilia Goode, 10, one of Markham's students, said she thinks it's "cool" that her teacher won the award.

Brianna Sessa, 10, said, "She's nice, and she teaches science very good. She deserves it."

T.J. Kessel, 10, agreed.

"She definitely deserves it. She makes science fun. Seems like you're not even learning," T.J. said.

Lindsey Cirigliano, 10, is another fan.

"She's a cool teacher," Lindsey said, "and she makes everything sound exciting."

After the dignitaries left, one of Markham's students yelled out, "Group hug!" The children piled on a grinning Markham, who was feeling the love.

Chocachatti Elementary's Ruth Markham a finalist for science teaching award 09/08/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 4:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.

  2. Police: Man tries to lure child with puppy in Polk County


    Times staff

    HAINES CITY — A man was arrested Sunday after he tried to entice a young girl into his camper to view a puppy, according to police.

    Dale Collins, 63, faces a charge of luring or enticing a child under the age of 12. [Photo courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Scaramucci on leaks: 'I'm going to fire everybody'


    WASHINGTON — Anthony Scaramucci, President Donald Trump's new communications director, vowed Tuesday to purge the White House staff of disloyal aides in an effort to crack down on leaks, as another member of the press staff resigned from a West Wing reeling from an unfolding shake-up.

  4. Editorial: Coming together to reduce car thefts


    The simple, knee-jerk response to the juvenile car theft epidemic in Pinellas County would be to crack down on offenders with an increased police presence and stiffer sentences. Thankfully, local community leaders did not stop there. As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its 
As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its "Hot Wheels" investigation into youth car thefts, a variety of ideas from multiple directions increases the odds of actually solving the cause and not just treating the symptoms.

  5. Editorial: Floridians' health care now at risk in Washington


    The health care for millions of Floridians is now at risk. The U.S. Senate's dramatic vote Tuesday to begin debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with no idea what will happen is a dangerous gamble with American lives and the national economy. Barring an unexpected bipartisan compromise, a handful of …

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., dramatically returned to the Senate for the first time since his brain cancer was diagnosed and cast the key vote that enabled Vice President Mike Pence to break the 50-50 tie and allow the health care debate to proceed.