Mr. Kent! I went to see my 7th grade science teacher this afternoon. Mr. Kent is one of my favorite teachers – I have a handful of special teachers that I lug around in my heart and Mr. Kent is one of them. I learned so much science when I was 12. We learned about cells and used microscopes and made our own slides of onion cells, water plants, cheek cells. We dissected chicken wings. We typed our own blood (!). He took us on field trips to Assateague Island and Calvert Cliffs to find fossils. He was the person, besides my parents, who laid the first brick in the foundation for my science career. He’s turning 80 this month. I just happened to see the invitation go out on Facebook a few weeks ago in Rockville Town Center, I’m glad to have had the weekend off to say hello again to him. So good to see him. Honestly, I just wanted to know if he remembered me and he said that he did. I think towards the end of his 40-year old career with MCPS, he chafed at various changes in the county. I know now the county has a standardized curriculum for each class in every school in the county, I’m not sure how much variation the teachers get in teaching the subject matter – I suspect that it isn’t much. I know Mr. Kent would have hated it. He wanted to teach science in his own way. And I loved it so much! He basically went through the whole cheek cell lesson again with me this afternoon and when I close my eyes, I can see the younger him in the front of the classroom scraping the spoon against the inside of his cheek showing us how he wanted us to get our own cells and I can remember where I was sitting in his classroom and I see the fish tanks and snake tanks all around me and it makes me so happy. I don’t like telling people where I went to school, but here I made an exception and told him I ended up going to MIT & Caltech and to thank him for being there at the beginning and for showing me how much fun science can be.