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Two distinguished educators join Harford County Public Schools Hall of Fame during Summer 2019 induction
William R. Carpenter
William Carpenter was born and raised in Potter County, Pennsylvania. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Lycoming College in 1974, and later went on to receive a master’s degree from Loyola College in 1981.
Mr. Carpenter credits his high school biology teacher, Mr. Clifford Wood, for sparking his desire to teach. Mr. Wood was enthusiastic about biology and treated his students with care and respect. He was an excellent role model to Mr. Carpenter, demonstrating what a good teacher should be. In addition, teaching was a part of Mr. Carpenter’s family. His grandfather taught in a one-room schoolhouse for 12 years beginning in 1916 and was instrumental in paying for Mr. Carpenter’s college education. Mr. Carpenter took great pride in the fact that he was still teaching in 2016, 100 years after his grandfather started. For a brief time, Mr. Carpenter’s grandmother also was a teacher.
Mr. Carpenter transferred to Harford County after the education office at his college informed him of an open science position with Harford County Public Schools. He took the position at Bel Air Middle School, which was later renamed Bel Air Middle School North and finally Southampton Middle School. He remained there his entire career.
What Mr. Carpenter enjoyed most was teaching about the wonder of the natural world. It was gratifying to him to see students demonstrate the same enthusiasm for the world of living things. He also enjoyed developing a strong rapport with his students by trying to always treat them the way that he would have wanted to be treated if he was in their shoes.
During his career, Mr. Carpenter’s top priority was doing an effective job in his own classroom. However, he also took great pride in being an instrumental member of his instructional team. The team of math, language arts, social studies, science, and special education was dynamic, creative, and dedicated. He, along with his colleagues, took great pride in trying to create for their students the most memorable year in their school career.
Mr. Carpenter fulfilled roles outside of his classroom to serve at a broader school level, including science department chairmanship and school improvement team member. In addition, he was active in the systemwide arena by working with various curriculum development committees and providing staff development to HCPS educators, opportunities that put him in contact with highly talented and devoted teachers from across the county. For him, that experience underscored just how worthy of praise and sincere appreciation the teachers of Harford County are.
Mr. Carpenter reflects fondly of his involvement in several special initiatives over the years, including the Dream Foundation to benefit local charities; the Marathon of Achievement to challenge students to become more well-rounded academically by the development of their character and service to others; blood drives; patriotism assemblies; science fairs, quarterly academic award assemblies; team plays; Bridging the Generations celebrations; and others.
“I hope that I used any talents and abilities that God gave me to take good care of my students, to let them know that they were valued, and to share with them the wonder of the natural world,” said Mr. Carpenter. “I hope that my colleagues had as much respect for me as I had for them. It is also my hope that I made my parents proud and put to work the important things that they taught me.”
Mr. Carpenter received several awards and recognitions throughout his career, including WBAL-TV’s Class Act Award, Science Teaching Tool Award from Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Best Scout Award from the American Red Cross, Everyday Hero Award from Greater Excellence in Education Foundation, Honorable Mention Youth Leader Award from Harford County Youth Council, and finalist for HCPS Teacher of the Year.
After 43 years of dedicated service to Harford County Public Schools, Mr. Carpenter retired in 2017. He realized that from the time he started as a student in first grade, he had been in schools for 59 consecutive years, and he was finally ready to do some new things. In retirement, Mr. Carpenter is enjoying spending time with his grandchildren, volunteering, reading, and following the Orioles baseball organization, as well as a bit of traveling.
Mr. Carpenter was nominated for induction into the Hall of Fame by Dennis Kirkwood, Andrew Renzulli, and Southampton Middle School faculty spanning 1974-2017.
Stu Chapman grew up in Catonsville, MD. He attended Catonsville Community College for his first two years of higher education, and then transferred to Frostburg State College where he completed his undergraduate degree in 1973.
Upon graduation from Frostburg State College, he applied for teaching positions in several counties in Maryland, ultimately accepting a position as a biology teacher at Havre de Grace High School in June of 1973. Mr. Chapman went on to complete graduate work at Towson State University in 1979.
Mr. Chapman was the first person in his family to attend and complete college. His mother was his first teacher and was highly involved in his progress in school and at home, where she purchased several science toys for him as a young child, like chemistry sets and plastic models of the human body, homemade build-it-yourself radio kits, and the like. He can remember his father showing him how to find the major constellations in the night sky, which sparked his interest in astronomy and became his lifelong hobby.
Mr. Chapman taught biology and chemistry at Havre de Grace High School for the first 10 years of his career, from 1973 until 1983. In 1983, he accepted a voluntary transfer to the position of Planetarium Teacher where he served as an Itinerant at the Edgewood Middle School and Aberdeen High School planetariums from 1983 until 1989. In 1989, Mr. Chapman transferred to Southampton Middle School where he was planetarium teacher until 1997. In 1997, he transferred to Harford Technical High School where he taught biology, chemistry, and physics for 11 years. In 2008, he moved to the Aberdeen High School Science and Mathematics Academy where he served as a chemistry teacher until his retirement in 2017.
Mr. Chapman currently serves as an adjunct faculty member in Astronomy and Chemistry at Harford Community College, a role he took on beginning in 1987.
What Mr. Chapman enjoyed first and foremost about teaching was the daily interaction with the students. His goal was always to have his enthusiasm for science transfer to the students. He was frequently fond of dressing up in costumes to share his enthusiasm for the subject area. Mr. Chapman recalls dressing as an astronaut for planetarium students, as Antoinne Laviossier for chemistry students, and even wore a gorilla costume on Darwin Day as part of the teaching of facts and fallacies about the theory of biological evolution for his biology classes.
Mr. Chapman viewed his role as a teacher to serve as a role model for students. The subject matter was never scripted in science, and he enjoyed the freedom to be creative in designing his own lessons, labs, and demonstrations. He loved working with students of all academic abilities and strived to make subjects like biology and chemistry fun and engaging with a great deal of active student participation through laboratory work and lab demonstrations.
Mr. Chapman views three of his major career accomplishments as transforming planetarium instruction, being part of the renewal of Harford Technical High School, and teaching chemistry at the Science and Mathematics Academy.
When Mr. Chapman began teaching in the planetarium in 1983, much of the programming was as one would expect when visiting a planetarium in a museum or science center. Often the audience would be passive while a pre-programmed set of slides and music would be presented to the audience, followed by a short “talk in the dark” about the current night sky. Mr. Chapman envisioned treating the planetarium as a science laboratory classroom where the attending teacher and he would plan together lessons where there would be a high degree of active student participation. In addition to science, instruction was offered in other academic areas as well, such as social studies, foreign language, English, and even music! Instead of just listening, students were given the opportunity to point something out in the simulated sky and/or collect astronomical data to use back in their classroom in post planetarium instruction with their regular teacher. In this way, the planetarium became a lab experience available to attending teachers on a yearly basis.
When Mr. Chapman arrived at Harford Tech in 1997 the school was in the transforming stage from being a two-year program to a full four-year comprehensive high school. Like many vocational technical schools of its era, Harford Tech suffered because some stakeholders viewed it as an alternative for students of poor academic ability or students with behavioral problems. When the school become a full comprehensive high school under the direction of principal Dave Thomas and supervisor Bill Securro, the focus of the instructional mission was to turn this image around by offering some modern technical programs integrated with a more rigorous academic vision. Over a period of just a few years, the reputation of the school improved so much that it became necessary to turn many students away due to great number of yearly applications. For Mr. Chapman, it was a source of professional pride and accomplishment to have been fortunate enough to have been a small part of the transformation of Harford Tech to the excellent school it is today.
The Science and Mathematics Academy is where Mr. Chapman was able to find a large number of students whose love of chemistry was very similar to his. As always, he enjoyed learning from the students as much as he enjoyed teaching them. In addition, he was able to offer electives in chemistry which were unique to the Science and Mathematics Academy, and it was a pleasure for Mr. Chapman to help write curriculum and laboratory exercises in such subjects as organic chemistry and biochemistry and then share the content with the students.
Mr. Chapman’s efforts went beyond his classroom. In the early 1990’s, he applied for a volunteer position as the education editor for the
Focus on Education
feature published in
, the journal of the International Planetarium Society. He submitted articles about lessons he had completed in the Harford County planetariums and received and edited articles from other planetarians for the bi-monthly journal. He was pleased to receive correspondence that several planetarians in school settings had begun to implement his planetarium lessons in their coursework.
Also, in the 1990’s, Mr. Chapman attended a summer program on meteorology and weather prediction. As a result of his participating in the program, Harford County Public Schools was awarded the software and antenna for receiving automatic satellite transmissions of images from polar orbiting satellites in real time, which he incorporated into our planetarium instruction. He sponsored a “Weather Club” at Southampton Middle School during the homeroom period where the students were actively involved in using Image Processing software to process the raw images. This was before the days of computer labs and widespread computer use.
In addition, Mr. Chapman attended summer institutes conducted by the National Math and Science Initiative.
Throughout his career, Mr. Chapman was a member of the professional teaching union, serving as HCEA representative and then as vice president.
In 1987, Mr. Chapman was fortunate enough to be awarded the secondary school curriculum award, and in 2001, he was selected as a candidate for HCPS Teacher of the Year.
In 2017, Mr. Chapman retired after 44 years of dedicated service to Harford County Public Schools. He did not wish to retire completely though, so he still teaches as an adjunct professor at Harford Community College and is an occasional substitute for Harford County Public Schools. His current hobbies include bicycling, boating, and teaching. Today, his 1980’s era yacht, The Age of Reason, is his summer home, where he is likely to be almost anywhere on the Chesapeake Bay during the summer and fall months. He also enjoys kayaking, and, weather and time permitting, he tries to paddle almost every day.
Mr. Chapman was nominated for induction into the Hall of Fame by Dennis Kirkwood, and received letters of endorsements from Sarah Voskuhl Ashley, David Thomas, and Andrew Renzulli.
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Currently on display as a part of the AP Art Studio Student Exhibit at the A.A. Roberty Building. 102 S. Hickory Avenue, Bel Air, MD 21014
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