CAA Teacher Inspires Scientific Excellence

June 12, 2015 | Education | Andrea Jackson

When entering Larry Hiday's classroom at Columbia Adventist Academy (CAA), in Battle Ground, Wash., one is immediately drawn into the world of science. There are live snakes, fish and a terrapin. Rocks, feathers and other pieces of nature provide snapshots into science. Above all of this is a large research poster entitled "Monkeying Around With Ovaries: Long Live the Follicle." In this classroom, science is not just a thing of the past to be studied only in textbooks; science is explored constantly through experiments, experience and research. Hiday not only teaches, he is a professional scientist and researcher.

Before coming to CAA, Hiday taught for more than 20 years on a college campus. Desiring to keep networking with universities and research facilities, Hiday was excited when, in 2013, he received a Partners in Science grant, funded by the Murdock Foundation. Hiday has now spent two summers doing primary research at the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) in the Zelinski Lab. Hiday explained that because of this research "the CAA biology students now visit ONPRC and have participated in tours of the facility, dissection labs comparing reproductive systems of different animals and slide preparations of various tissues. Additionally, all of the students have been able to attend CAA career day where scientists and technicians from ONPRC have now presented, contributing to their learning about many different jobs."

Hiday's research has benefited both CAA and the community in a variety of ways. Hiday says that the school program has also been enhanced by the Partners in Science program. "Not only do we have a wider diversity of presenters for the career day, but we also have people who are willing to allow students to shadow them and learn about their jobs in the field," Hiday reports. "It has allowed CAA to benefit other schools too. [During] the last biology field trip to ONPRC, Mid-Columbia Christian School biology students and teacher were invited to accompany them. CAA has also sponsored a science technology workshop and invited Portland, Ore./Vancouver, Wash., science teachers to attend for free. The students of CAA will continue to benefit from the Partners in Science grant as CAA has now received a supplemental grant, which will allow them to purchase $12,000 worth of science equipment for the school."

The equipment is professional-grade. As Hiday explains, students at CAA will be able to walk into a college lab and know how to use current technology and perform the protocol. Some of the equipment the school is getting includes a microscope with digital camera, iPhone ocular mounts, micropipettes, ELISA equipment and a thermal cycler (PCR). With the thermal cycler, CAA will be able to make a DNA inventory of campus flora and fauna. This cutting-edge technology will be used in conjunction with a unit entitled “An ‘Eggsacting Science’: Using Technology to Crack the Egg.”

Hiday's emails and letters always end with the phrase "in the pursuit of excellence." This is what Hiday brings to CAA in everything he does, whether teaching, researching or showing students just how incredible science is. And most importantly, Christ is at the center of everything.