2008 Outstanding High School
Chemistry Teacher Award
The Future of Science
With her as a high school teacher, I see the future of science.
-Arcadia High School parent
With the nation’s scientific literacy in unfortunate decline, it is with the dedication and efforts of teachers like this year’s Outstanding High School Chemistry Teacher Award, Cherryl Vorak of Arcadia High School (AHS), that there is still hope for the future. Cherryl teaches around 150 students in chemistry at AHS and provides many demonstrations to illustrate the concepts presented in class. The way she smiles brightly as she fondly reminisces about her students’ excited responses clearly shows her enthusiasm towards conducting the many demos in her repertoire. The extra effort in preparing such demos is just an example of the overall dedication and commitment Cherryl has to her students. This all is not without reward as her students recently won the 2008 1st place Overall School performance in the ACS Chemistry Olympiad competition – again! In fact, Cherryl’s chemistry students have consistently placed first in the ACS Chemistry Olympiad competition in either Overall School performance or First Year Students performance for the past six years! This kind of success is quite a legacy for a chemistry teacher so early in her career. To motivate her students, Cherryl constantly reminds them that this is a “competition” and not an exam! And so they rise to the occasion repeatedly and without fail. It is easy to see how she successfully motivates her students when she freely admits, “I am a mentor who believes in students’ potential and urges students to reach for their dreams.”
– Paul Shin, Ph.D.
Chair, Educational Affairs Committee