Saint Michael teacher named science teacher of the year

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BRATTLEBORO — Joshua Patriquin, a teacher at Saint Michael School, was named the Vermont Middle School Science Teacher of the Year.

The Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering presented him with the award on Sept. 23 at the academy's conference in Middlebury. The award recognizes teachers each year for their contributions as role models for their colleagues and leaders within the community of science education. Dr. Gary Carver, head of research and development at Omega Optical in Brattleboro, nominated Patriquin.

After seven years of teaching at Saint Michael School, Patriquin attributes most of his success to the supportive community within which he works each day. He doesn't see himself as outstanding, but rather, a product of his work environment.

In his address, Patriquin thanked the school principal, Elaine Beam, for her leadership and encouragement.

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"You've said yes to rockets, acid, river-trips, farming, BB guns, fire, camping, and plenty of other fun school activities. You have martialed this school with caution and passion, and you've done it with faith and works. You know every kid in the building. You have cultivated an agile institution where high schoolers know first graders. We put 'goodness' first. Our building is full of joyous people who love one another."

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To his students, Patriquin says, "You are the reason I go to work. Without you, I'd be lost. I have watched you grow up (some of you are now men and women) and you have given me the courtesy of your attention, trust, truth, and love.

Above all, I admire your compassion and honesty. Because of you, I have a lifetime ticket to youth! I'll see you at 8:15."

Patriquin acknowledges the organizations who partner with Saint Michael School. For example,

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students most look forward to weekly trips to the Retreat Farm. Every Friday afternoon, students help with farm chores, conduct seasonal science experiments and participate in team building activities. The farm program has become an integral part of the middle school experience.

Students are drawn to Patriquin's interactive approach to learning, and appreciate when he can bring relevance to the curriculum.

Students have partnered with Patriquin to build equipment, such as wooden test tube holders for the science lab, and homemade barometers to measure changes in atmospheric pressure. His classroom is decorated with plants, which the students held water, and images of saints and quotes by famous world leaders. He keeps an electric train set and Snap Circuits tucked away in his closet for rainy days when recess must be held indoors.


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