Year Honored: 2009Montpelier High School
At the time of the Award, Tom Sabo was:Teacher
Montpelier High School
Subject(s) taught: Biology/Life Science
Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12
Tom Sabo teaches a very popular biology class at Montpelier High School in Montpelier, VT, taken by 10 to 20 percent of the student body each semester. Rather than studying photosynthesis only through textbooks, Sabo takes students into the school's organic garden to witness it in nature. The garden is also the brainchild of Sabo and his commitment to sustainability and healthy living.
Both Sabo's biology class and his environmental applications class, study the environmental impacts and true costs of our current lifestyle on ecosystems and society as a whole. These classes have touched so many students at Montpelier High, they have bonded together to purchase rainforest land to offset their environmental impact. Sabo has inspired students personally as well as professionally. This past year 23 percent of seniors said that they now want to pursue careers in science. Sabo and students also put their studies to practical use for the benefit of the community. Sabo enlists about 100 students each semester to tend to the school's organic garden where they grow vegetables and fruits.
Sabo also worked with the school to build a greenhouse that is funded by student outreach projects. The food grown in the garden is used for Sabo's lesson plans and as hearty meals in the school cafeteria. As the garden has grown, so has the students' appreciation for locally grown fresh vegetables. Students' families have reported that this has dramatically changed the eating habits of their children. And as if these eco-friendly educational practices weren't enough, the greenhouse uses soil composted from the school's food waste and is powered by solar panels. Sabo recently received the Governor's Award for commitment to creating a hunger-free Vermont, a much-deserved recognition.