Tech School teacher honored
FCTS submitted photo Jonas LaPointe
TURNERS FALLS — This is Jonas LaPointe’s week.
A Franklin County Technical School science teacher, LaPointe’s efforts in the classroom earned him a pre-game shout-out on the New England Patriots’ Radio Network, broadcast on 10 Massachusetts stations, as Lexington-based biopharmaceutical company Cubist Pharmaceuticals’ teacher of the week.
LaPointe said he was honored to be nominated but missed his own on-air commendation.
“Unfortunately, I had two sick little boys at home so I wasn’t able to be paying attention to it when the radio actually broadcast, but I have the audio clip so I did get to hear it,” LaPointe said.
The announcement was made during the pre-game broadcast of the Patriots-Texans game Monday, according to the school.
In his third year at the technical school, LaPointe teaches engineering, physics and energy science at all but the 10th-grade level.
The recognition puts him in the running for the annual Cubist Science Education Leadership Award, with 16 other New England middle and high school educators selected weekly throughout the football season.
The Leadership Award carries dividends for the school, with $5,000 for the teacher’s science department and a special appearance by a Patriots alumni player.
The winning teacher will also have a special meet-and-greet with Patriots broadcasters at the CBS Scene restaurant and bar in Foxborough at the final home game of the season.
LaPointe said he doesn’t want to count his chickens before they hatch, but his students have come up with some uses for the money including building an electric drag motorcycle or a turbo jet engine in cooperation with some of the vocational shops. There is also some equipment the lab could use, such as a stress-testing machine for materials engineering.
“I’m really thrilled to be nominated. If it goes beyond that and I end up getting that $5,000 award, that would be fantastic, and we’ll figure out what makes best sense to help these kids out in their science education,” LaPointe said. “Making it educational and fun is what I try to do, so that would probably be where this money would be heading towards.”
LaPointe said he tries to focus as much as possible on hands-on projects, including this year’s construction of mechanical egg launchers, steam-powered tin can boats and remote-control airships.
Formerly a teacher at a Springfield public Montessori middle school, LaPointe said his initial education was in wildlife conservation and he worked as a carpenter and general contractor before moving into education.
According to the school, LaPointe is a 1992 graduate of Mahar Regional School in Orange and followed his wildlife degree with a master’s in education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Fellow FCTS Science teacher Seamus Roche nominated LaPointe.
According to the Cubist website, the award is intended to honor innovative teaching in classrooms throughout New England, in partnership with the New England Patriots Radio Network.