by Asami Nelson
The foundation of all life on Earth derives from subatomic particles that form molecules and compounds, which then combine with others to form cells, organs, and organisms. This branch of science can be tricky to understand and more complicated to apply in real life, but chemistry and biology teacher Kathryn Connolly helps students comprehend the aspects of molecular and biological chemistry. Currently, she teaches both Chemistry and Chemistry Honors, along with Biology AP, an advanced, college-level life science class. At Reedley High School Ms. Connolly guides students through practical labs, experiments, and demonstrations, in addition to helpful worksheets that build comprehension in these scientific fields.
Although Ms. Connolly may be strict with her students, she is best known for her compassion, care, and thoughtfulness as she not only leads her students in the classroom, but also through life. She expects students to make every effort to engage with the lessons and discussions, and to complete their homework before coming to class. Ms. Connolly encourages responsibility and hard work, in addition to creating a safe and comfortable learning environment in which every student feels welcomed and included. Described on numerous occasions as approachable, easy-going, helpful, and accepting of mistakes, she goes out of her way to help her students in both science and practical lifestyles. Her undying motivation inspires many to reach towards their goals and succeed in expanding their knowledge of the sciences.
Her chemistry classes involve a thorough overview of this science, including the periodic table, ions and isotopes, balancing and creating chemical equations, stoichiometry, and radiation. The classes comprise a full-year, two-semester course, with both an honors class and a regular chemistry class. Although the honors course covers the material more quickly, both classes are just as thorough in teaching this field of science. Her AP Biology course is a fast-paced, advanced course that involves practical experiments and labs which require extensive thinking. Mrs. Connolly allows students to construct their own experiments to obtain individual results that can be achieved with collaborative work.
In addition to being a science instructor, she is also the advisor to the club at RHS known as Science Olympiad. This group takes part in scientific competitions that involve knowledge in a variety of fields, but any student is included if they want to participate. Alex Lu, a junior at RHS who has taken Ms. Connolly’s Honors Chemistry class, and is currently taking her AP Biology course stated, “The club is a great way to meet new people and bond with old ones, but the competitions are what really excites me.”
Brayan Aguilar, a junior in the Honors Chemistry course, commented that Ms. Connolly is, “helpful in explaining the material, is very welcoming and comforting in the classroom, and gives us lots of different labs to work with. I also love her jokes,” he added. Speaking from experience in the Honors Chemistry class, and now from AP Biology, junior Heidi Harris declared, “As a future non-science major, I can say that Mrs. Connolly’s classes have been extremely helpful with gaining overall knowledge…that is useful in everyday life.”
Although the classes may be challenging at times, they are a wonderful experience of science fields, and to expand your science knowledge. Students have an excellent opportunity to do so with Mrs. Connolly.