Environmental Science teacher David Whitman’s last day at school was on Dec. 21, following his decision to take up a position as science teacher on special assignment. Whitman is now working at Northrup Elementary School, where he is a teacher and curriculum adviser, helping Northrup with the Next Generation Science Standards. He is also teaching a Universal Access elective class called Science Investigations for sixth through eight grade.
Whitman left a mark on SGHS, helping with the start of the food recovery loss program, reviving the Robotics Club, making headlines in the school newspaper, and acting as the adviser of Science Olympiad. He showed his love for the student body through his participation in various school activities.
“[My fondest memories include] helping clubs raise money by letting kids smash pie on my face and being the mascot this year— I got to be the matador,” Whitman said. “Also, just making kids more aware of the environment and turning them into environmentalists— helping them realize that they can make a difference.”
In his time teaching at San Gabriel, Whitman formed friendships with many students who felt that it was hard to say goodbye to him. They saw him as a great mentor with his boisterous personality and passionate attitude.
“When I heard [he was leaving], it was pretty upsetting because he was everybody’s favorite teacher,” senior Evelyn Hernandez said. “Everybody talks good about him, so it was kind of shocking and heartbreaking that he left.”
Fellow environmental teacher, Andrew Bitterolf, is proud of Whitman, even though he is saddened by his departure. Bitterolf said that Whitman deserves the new job opportunity and wishes him great luck in the future.
“He is enthusiastic, passionate, and excited about what he does,” Bitterolf said. “Whether it be him drinking pond water or burning planks of wood with his giant solar panel dish, it’s the stuff that folks remember. And that is how he operates. It’s his genuine interest in environmental science that is pretty apparent [and] clear.”
In the future, Whitman plans to make a robotics and outdoor camping program for younger students, wanting them to experience science hands-on. He will teach the topics in class and then have them interact with what they learned in a real-life setting. He has always prioritized environmental awareness as a teacher and is dedicated to educating his students on eco-friendliness, no matter how young.
“I just wanted to make a difference in kids’ lives— I don’t know how else to say it,” Whitman said. “I love environmental stuff, I love earth science things, and it’s always interested me. To be teaching it is just a thrill, honestly.”
Whitman said that he is excited for his future at Northrup Elementary because he is spreading his love for environmental science to a new generation of learners. While he will be enjoying a new beginning with a different age demographic, Whitman will miss his former students and colleagues.
“[San Gabriel] is like a second family,” Whitman said. “It’s a fun job, and I work with a bunch of really great people. That’s what the draw of coming to San Gabriel is; we’re a really tight community. I like that.”