Tim Myrick’s involvement with Oak Ridge High Schoolâ€”as a loaned executive and consultant helping with the reconstruction of the high school and later as a volunteer in advance placement environmental science classesâ€”has convinced him that teachers’ needs in the classroom are sometimes greater than budgets will allow.
Myrick and his wife Teresa believe that grants to teachers will make a critical difference to Oak Ridge Schools. They are pledging $25,000 to the “Making a Critical Difference” campaign for grants and scholarships as they help launch the individual giving part of the campaign.
The Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation kicked off the campaign in May, seeking to raise $500,000 in corporate, business, and individual contributions to support the grants program for Oak Ridge public schools.
The Myricks’ contribution includes $15,000 for the grants campaign and $10,000 to provide a $1,000 scholarship to an AP environmental science student each year for 10 years. They designated the grants contribution to the ORHS Science Department, where Tim Myrick has been contributing his time.
For the past four years, Myrick has shared his knowledge and passion for environmental science one day a week with AP environmental science classes. He has led field trips to Frozen Head State Park, where students study contents of a creek, and he has taken them to learn about environmental cleanup at U.S. Department of Energy facilities. He lectures on the East Fork Poplar Creek cleanup, among other topics.
“I have been seeing the needs in the APES and Science Department in general for continued outside-the-school-budget funding to get them through the year,” Myrick said. “So I knew we wanted to do something for the school.”
Before he retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory as director of facility strategic planning, Myrick served as a loaned executive to the school system, helping oversee the design and reconstruction of the high school. He continued in that role after he retired in 2004.
Then, Nita Ganguly, former chair of the ORHS Science Department, asked if Myrick would be interested in helping once a week with AP environmental science classes. He most certainly was.
Myrick has a masterâ€™s degree in environmental engineering and spent most of his career in environmental cleanup and nuclear waste management.
“This allows me to bring real life issues to the students, and it allows me to take the passion I have for the environment and give it to them,” Myrick said of his work in the classroom. “These students are learning about climate change, the environment, and alternative energyâ€”all the things we need to have them learning now. It’s been a good match with my background.”
The Education Foundation is aiming to raise $500,000 to provide teachers with grants valued at $100,000 each year for five years, providing resources that would otherwise not be available. The Foundation has provided $322,000 in grants since 2005, but has received grant requests for about three times that amount.
“Individual contributions are especially important to help this campaign reach its goal,” said Lila Metcalf, ORPSEF director. “Gifts, both large and small, from individuals and companies will make this campaign successful.”
Gifts may be one-time contributions or pledges of an annual amount for five years.
For more information about participating in the campaign, call Metcalf at (865) 241-3667.
Article submitted by ORPSEF.