Spencer Wilson grew up fishing in the lakes and mountain streams of the area, an activity that fostered his interest in the environment. The Oak Ridge High School senior, who plans to pursue his interest in fish and the environment in college, has received the $1,000 Tim and Teresa Myrick Scholarship.
The scholarship is awarded annually to a hard-working student interested in environmental science, a field of study important to Tim Myrick. Spencer plans to major in aquatic biology, continuing to build on his lifelong interest.
“Spencer has an interest in the environment, a desire to work and ‘play’ outside. He is an avid fisherman, which was one of Tim’s favorite pastimes,” said Deni Sobek, Advanced Placement Environmental Science teacher at ORHS, who recommended Spencer for the scholarship. He was a student in Sobek’s class in his junior year.
In 2012, Myrick and his wife Teresa pledged $25,000 to the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation’s “Making the Critical Difference” campaign for grants and scholarships. Their pledge provides an annual scholarship to a top AP Environmental Science student, as well as grant funds to be awarded to ORHS Science Department applicants.
Spencer said as a child, he fished in a creek that flowed through a family farm in Oliver Springs, and continues to fish every day, bringing home fish he’s caught for friends and family. He also has fish in aquariums at home. In guided study with Sobek at the high school, he read and studied fish identification books.
A student athlete who was a starting pitcher on the ORHS baseball team, Spencer plans to play baseball in college and will make a decision on where to attend college this summer.
“I was very excited and very surprised by the scholarship,” he said.
Tim Myrick, who passed away in 2014, was a guest lecturer and adviser to the high school’s AP Environmental Science class. He was interested in making sure that the students and faculty of the ORHS science department were well-equipped and in rewarding high-caliber students.
“Tim visited my classroom once a week for nearly five years,” Sobek said. “My students all loved him, and called the day he came in as ‘Tim Tuesday.’ Tim gave a few lectures every year based on his personal experiences with the lab (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), environmental clean-up projects, and the Living Waters for the World organization.”
Myrick assisted with the class labs, providing feedback, asking engaging questions, and relating the students’ experiences to real life situations, Sobek said. Myrick served as a volunteer teacher and mentor to students from 2008 until shortly before his death, working with a former science teacher before assisting with Sobek’s class.
The Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation invests in Oak Ridge Schools beyond what public tax dollars can provide to ensure the highest quality of education for Oak Ridge students, a press release said. The Foundation raises funds through grants and private donations such as those made by Tim and Teresa Myrick. The Foundation then invests in enhanced educational programming, innovative technology, and state-of-the-art facilities for teachers and students. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.orpsef.org or contact Jessica Steed at (865) 241-3667.
This press release was submitted by Jessica Steed of Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation.
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