Life experiences — Lawrence “DC” Randle

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Albert Einstein once said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.”

Lawrence “DC” Randle, brother of Rotary Senior Living Administrator Sam Boeke, has echoed that statement since he began his teaching career 30 years ago.  He believes that the best way for kids to learn is through first-hand experience.

“I’ve always taught environmentally, but in order to teach, I believe you should have life experiences,” said Randle, a biology and wildlife management instructor.

Randle isn’t your “basic science teacher.”  He began his career teaching behaviorally challenged students at Saint Francis High School in Minnesota.  He gladly took the class of kids the others thought were too difficult to teach.  He got the kids’ attention by letting them experience the world around them, not just in a text book, but in the real life environment around them.  One of the ways he did this was by starting a turtle project with them.  The goal was to trap the endangered  Blanding turtle, mark them, and then put them back in nature to study and learn from them.  

Randle said other teachers couldn’t believe he was doing this kind of project with “these kinds” of kids…but he did, and they were interested in learning.

This project, and other environmental work on rivers, eventually won Randle a state award.  It also later led him to learn of The Jason Project, a non-profit organization that gives middle school students, both inside and outside the classroom, a connection to “real science” and exploration.  It’s meant to encourage students to study and pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields.  

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