Katz honored with ISBA award
November 9, 2012
Bonners Ferry High School science teacher Ed
called away from a parent/teacher conference
last night in the high school gym by school
board trustee David Brinkman, who presented him
with the Idaho School Board Association's
Citizenship Award, an honor bestowed on only one
Idaho public school teacher each year for
promoting education both in and out of the
Brinkman nominated Katz for the honor,
submitting this letter:
"Thank you for taking the time to consider my
candidate, Ed Katz for this award. Ed is not
only a science teacher for BFHS but the founder
of the robotics club. It is this dedication to
our students that takes him above and beyond the
call of an educator.
"The fact that Bonners Ferry has a robotics team
is an amazing feat but what is even more
exciting is the success of the program. This
year again saw the Badgers compete at the
regional tournament with 63 other teams from the
northwest. The Badgers showed well against the
bigger schools, winning two of the top awards
and then heading off to nationals.
"Students do not join Robotics knowing how to do
this kind of work and a lot of hours go into
teaching them everything from design and
manufacturing to marketing and fund raising.
When they leave a student can have up to four
years experience with technical programs,
engineering, computer drafting and more plus
recognition on the state, regional and national
levels. As an example our Robotics students have
worked with NASA and MIT getting a chance to
apply their code in the actual satellites
orbiting our planet.
"Creating and maintaining this program takes
both time and money. Ed has been able to find
funding for his students by gathering grants and
going to businesses throughout the region. A
recent trip to Boston for the team had enough
funding secured that students only had to cover
their meals for the trip.
"The Robotics team students have made the
program visible locally by doing exhibitions at
Hoopfest in Spokane (this year’s robot
competition was a bot that shot baskets), the
Boundary County Fair, the high school football
games and more.
"Mr. Katz’s dedication to science for our
community does not just apply to the high school
or his robotics students. Ed was a key piece of
bringing the Discovery Bus to Bonners Ferry
during the fair. This brought a full assortment
of interactive science experiments to the young
people of the county. Ed is now working with our
Gear Up coordinator to start the Lego Robotics
program for our middle school students.
"All of that is great but the pay off is even
bigger. 80% of Ed's Robotics team enter college
for engineering. The other members have used
Robotics skills toward their degree studies as
well. When I discussed his program with him Ed
said that the best part for him was fostering
the love of science in these students and
building on the interest that they develop. He
spoke specifically about a student who was
homeless and joined his program and used it as a
springboard for college, getting scholarships to
make that dream a reality.
"When a coach has a team do well (and even when
they don't) they get recognized on the front of
the paper but when our Robotics team is one of
the best in the Northwest it's coach, our
science teacher, deserves more. Ed deserves the
recognition of the ISBA for his dedication to
not only his students but his promotion of
science and the way he has helped to foster that
love from young people into the next generation
of scientists and engineers."
"I was so glad to have been able to surprise Mr.
Katz with this award," Brinkman said after the
presentation. "I really didn't think we'd be
able to keep it secret!"
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