Casey O’Hara, an honors science teacher at Carlmont High School in Belmont, was recently honored at a school assembly with a science-teaching award from Amgen, the world’s largest biotech company. O’Hara received a $10,000 grant, half of which belongs to him, the other half to the school.
What was it like standing in front of 1,000 cheering students as you received the $10,000 grant? I’m not particularly comfortable with lots of attention. My students told me I turned several shades of red as I walked out to receive the award.
How did the staff lure you into the spotlight without you knowing about the assembly? Actually, the real main attraction of the assembly was the annual awards for student achievement — my award was a bonus surprise! Our principal, Dr. [Raul] Zamora, had earlier mentioned that he needed to speak with me at the assembly. He started asking vague questions about the gym’s acoustics and other semiscientific things, and I figured something was afoot.
What does it mean to get this award? The Amgen award is obviously a huge honor — only a handful of excellent science educators across the U.S. and Canada receive the award.