Published 9:17 pm Monday, January 5, 2015

Tammy Pickard begins preparing her science lab.

Tammy Pickard begins preparing her science lab.

AJHS opens today; excitement in air

Chills are what Tammy Pickard got when she first stepped into the new science lab in which she will begin teaching today.

“This is only the second time I’ve gotten chill bumps from walking into a lab,” Pickard, seventh grade science teacher at Andalusia Junior High School, said. “I was going to my freshman chemistry lab when I was a freshman in college and I was scared to death. This is fantastic.”

Pickard said the students are excited to begin using the lab, and their first day will be devoted to lab safety and procedure.

“We’ll be working on class procedure and lab safety the first day,” Pickard said. “It’s the first time I’ve taught these students in a lab setting. So, they’ll be learning how to sit on a stool, what they can and can’t touch and how they move around with different group variations.”

She said Wednesday the plan is to plant radish seeds, which will be used to feed the butterflies she plans to have the students raise.

“There is something hands-on going on every day in the classroom,” Pickard said.

The rest of the week will be used to learn another lab setting, something they didn’t have at the old school.

“We’ve only just been in a classroom,” Pickard said. “In this lab, we’re able to use more of what we had, simply because we have the counter space that we didn’t have before. We used to just make due.”

Safety preparedness is also a big feature of the new science lab.

“We have a state-of-the-art ultraviolet goggle cleaner,” Pickard said. “It uses an ultraviolet cleaning system for our goggles, and within four minutes they’re as clean as they can ever be.

“We also have the safety equipment that we didn’t have at the old school, including the shower and eye wash station and hooded vent,” she said.

The hooded vent is a huge exhaust fan used when mixing chemicals that give off dangerous fumes or noxious odors.

“I’m just excited to be able to teach in this situation and the students are as excited,” Pickard said. “I thought they might be overwhelmed, but when we brought them in before Christmas they were ready to do everything. They are really excited.”

Assistant Principal Victoria Anderson praised the facilities and the hard work of the teachers.

“The teachers have been doing an excellent job, and I know the students are excited to be in the new school,” Anderson said.