School's science program gets $5k

MERRIMACK – This coming school year, the Merrimack High School science department will be $5,000 richer.

That’s a whole lot of beakers.

In late June, Superintendent Marge Chiafery received an anonymous letter, saying the writer was so impressed by the school’s Biodiesel Team and Science Olympiad, that he or she wanted to donate $5,000 to the school: $1,000 for each of those two groups and $3,000 to the general science department.

Sean Mueller, James Davis and Tray Sleeper, three MHS science teachers, were each commended in the letter, Chiafery said.

“The donor said they were very pleased with that and wants to encourage more of it,” she said.

Chiafery said department head John Snell will be thrilled when he learns of the donation and will meet with the teachers when they come back from vacation in August to discuss the best use of the funds.

Before that can happen, however, the town must first accept the donation at the school board meeting today. Any donation to the school district of more than $5,000 must be formally accepted before it can be put to use.

During her nine-year tenure as superintendent, Chiafery said she has received some donations, but they are “few and far between.”

“They normally don’t come forward with a gift of $5,000,” she said. “Usually they’ll come with $100 or something like that.

“You don’t see it very often. That’s why it’s attention getting.”

Chiafery said the Science Olympiad and Biodiesel Team would likely use their portions for entrance fees at competitions, money they would otherwise have to raise money to cover.

The Biodiesel Team tied for second at last year’s Global Venture Challenge in Tennessee, and recently participated in Eurekafest 2009 at MIT, where they showed off, among other things, their electronic car nicknamed “BugE.”