Heather Haworth: An Appreciation

Good afternoon.

It’s really an honor to be here with you remembering this extraordinary person – Heather Haworth.

Heather taught my ninth grade advanced science class, during the 2001-2002 school year. My siblings also had her as a teacher and I know I speak for them when I say she was a terrific.

As a teacher, she was especially magnificent. She knew how to make ideas stick.

I want to share a few quick stories about life in her class so you can get an idea of how much fun she made school. She would often use mysteries to make lessons memorable.

One of my first memories is before the school move to the new Redmond Junior High. We came into class one day and we were asked this question: Resolved: Are beaver dams technology?

Those who thought the answer was yes were supposed to go to one side of the room. Anyone who thought no, the other side. I went to the no side with a small minority of the class. For the rest of that period, we debated the majority of our classmates, who argued that beaver dams were, in fact, technology. That was a Friday. On Monday, we came into class to hear the answer. I think most of the class was expecting the answer would be somewhere in the middle, but instead Ms. Haworth announced that our side had been right and the rest of the class had been wrong.

I also remember putting together hot air balloons. They took weeks to build in the autumn. Building them was tricky and we had to be very careful to do it right so that the balloons would inflate properly. One day in November, we went out and launched them. I brought along the school’s digital camera and took lots of pictures for the website.

When we moved to the new RJH she was able to use the new lab counters to do all sorts of demonstrations, or as we called them, demos. She was a pyromaniac… she loved to play with fire. She had a way of making chemistry very easy to understand which was helpful to me. Every lab we did was both fun and challenging. My best friend Dave, who was frequently my lab partner, always wanted to do the lab correctly, so he had a habit of asking Ms. Haworth for clarification. I gave him the nickname The Verifier because of this.

In the spring, we built bottle rockets. Groups were assigned to build different kinds of rockets. Each two person team engineered a different rocket. The one that Dave and I built wasn’t supposed to have a very long flight because of the way we constructed it. As it turned out, it didn’t fly at all. It exploded at the launchpad. Ms. Haworth thought this was hilarious, she walked over to ask us how the launch went with a big smile on her face.

Her bad days were not visible to her students. She always seemed so happy. Full of energy. She was a wonderful teacher and I will always be grateful for her encouragement and help.

She had spirit.