Public Release: 

California high school chemistry teacher wins regional award

American Chemical Society

Chemistry teacher Gareth Wong of Homestead High School in Cupertino, Calif., will be honored Oct. 19 by the world's largest scientific society for outstanding high school chemistry teaching. He will receive the American Chemical Society Regional Award in High School Chemistry Teaching at the Society's Santa Clara Valley local section meeting in San Jose, Calif.

Wong has brought passion, inspiration and leadership to the field of chemistry education for the past 36 years. A demanding teacher who sets high expectations for his students, he emphasizes classroom chemistry demonstrations and the guided inquiry method as ways of provoking thought and imparting knowledge. At Homestead, he currently chairs the science department and teaches honors courses in chemistry. Over the past 12 years, he has taught Advanced Placement (AP) chemistry, with a 94 percent pass rate among students who have taken the AP chemistry exam. Many of his students have achieved outstanding honors in numerous local, state and national chemistry competitions, including the National Chemistry Olympiad and the National Science Bowl.

Wong sets equally high expectations of himself as a professional and has shown leadership outside the classroom. In 1992, he founded the Bay Area Mathematics and Science Alliance, which he also directed for five years until 1996. Throughout his career, he has coordinated numerous workshops and meetings related to research and science education and served as a member at both the local and state levels of the California Association of Chemistry Teachers. He also has served as a school faculty advisor throughout his teaching career.

Wong has been honored four times as Teacher of the Year (City of Sunnyvale Showcase Awards, 2000 and in 1991; Fremont Union High School District, 2000; Cupertino High School, 1983). In 1997, he was named winner of the Tandy Technology Scholars Program. He has also won awards for community service and volunteerism. In 1988, he was designated a Paul Harris Fellow by the Cupertino Rotary, the highest award the organization gives for community service.

Wong received a B.Ed. and M.Ed. in physical science from the University of Hawaii in 1961 and 1967. He currently resides in San Jose, Calif.

The ACS Regional Award in High School Chemistry Teaching recognizes educators who challenge and inspire their students, provide high-quality instruction and participate in extracurricular activities that stimulate young people's interest in chemistry.

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