By Resident David Skeen —

In August 2010, my wife, Becky, and I moved to the Kendal community in Granville from New Concord, Ohio, where we lived for 45 years while working in various roles at Muskingum University. We are both  graduates of Denison University, so upon our retirement the search for a “new” home was quite straightforward. Since moving to Kendal at Granville in 2010 we both have been involved in many activities and organizations on the Kendal campus and in the Village of Granville. A recent survey of Kendal residents confirmed that many of our neighbors are equally engaged.

David-Skeen-library-talk-471wAs an example of the opportunities that exist for Kendal resident involvement on the campus and in the Village, I’d like to briefly describe one for my favorite experiences. During the fall and winter months for the past three years, I have served as a “coach/mentor” to a group of 6 to 8 junior high students who compete in the Science Olympiad program at the Granville Middle School. My team competes in the Experimental Design event. The students in this competition are given a task such as determining factors which might influence the force of a magnate to attract metal objects. The students are to develop a hypothesis to evaluate the question posed, given a set of materials to use in constructing a set of conditions to test their hypothesis, evaluate their observations and then to complete a report on their experiment, all in 60 minutes. Now as a matter of full disclosure I spent 45 years teaching experimental design and statistics at the undergraduate level, so this is great fun for me.

I have learned that these young men and women are much more advanced academically compared with my experience in junior high. When I ask them to read background material for next week’s practice, I can be almost certain they will come to practice prepared and ready to put their learning into practice for the next competition. You need to know that they are also competing in two or more other science categories in the Olympiad program as well as being involved in music, drama, and various athletic team at school. I have derived endless enjoyment participating with these students.

These students compete in five or six tournaments each year around the state. On tournament Saturdays they arrive at school at 5 a.m. and rarely return to Granville before 5 or 6 in the evening. Much of the success of the Granville teams in the Science Olympiad competition can be credited to Mr. Josh Grischow, who teaches eighth grade American history and spends many long after-school hours and many Saturdays during the school year coordinating 23 different teams, coaches, transportation and parent volunteers.

Before graduate study, following my graduation from Denison in 1962, I returned home to spend one-year teaching eighth grade mathematics, so you see I am truly returning to junior high. After every Tuesday practice, I return to my Kendal cottage renewed and encouraged by the energy, commitment and enthusiasm of these talented students and the dedication of teachers, such as Mr. Grischow, who go far beyond their teaching duties to challenge these junior high students. This experience is just another reason I find Kendal at Granville such an interesting and rewarding home for my retirement years.


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