Teatown recently honored longtime Ossining Science Research Program teachers Valerie Holmes and Angelo Piccirillo for their accomplishments in preparing the next generation of scientists.
They were recognized during the nature preserve’s Oct. 4 “A Night in the Woods” gala, along with retired Yorktown High School science teacher Michael Blueglass; the Swope Family, whose members founded Teatown; and Nature Girls, an enrichment program for Ossining and Tarrytown fifth-graders.
Gala chair Beverly Aisenbrey said the three local veteran science teachers have made such an impact “sparking the thrill of discovery and the love of research in their high school students.”
A Teatown video created for the event called the three educators “game-changers for thousands of students” for creating science research programs and founding the Westchester Science and Engineering Fair. Their partnership and research inspired Teatown to launch its Summer Environmental Academy in 2013 and to the Teatown Environmental Science Center in 2019.
Mr. Piccirillo, an OHS teacher for 25 years, founded the Science Research Program in 1998. He is vice president of the Westchester Science and Engineering Fair and serves on the organizational committee for the Westchester-Rockland Junior Science Humanities Symposium.
“To me, science is a way of thinking, a way of doing things and a way of gathering information and we just happen to use science to kind of understand the world around us, right,” he said in an event video. “How could environmental science not be in a way the center stone of science education in any setting?”
Ms. Holmes, who co-directs the Science Research Program, has taught at OHS for 21 years. She serves on the Teatown Advisory Board, and she helps run the Westchester Science & Engineering Fair and the Westchester-Rockland Science & Humanities Symposium.
“For me, I think science research offers students a chance to experience authentic science and experience the struggles and rigor, the problem-solving skills, like all these things come out with the science research experience,” she said.