Southampton High School science students are reaping the benefits of a $150,000 donation announced in the spring, with the arrival earlier this week of a Hitachi tabletop scanning electron microscope and computer.
The new laboratory equipment, which cost $72,000 combined, was provided courtesy of David Dull, a Shinnecock Hills resident and a graduate of the high school.
Mr. Dull said he made the donation to the district’s science program because he said the education he received while attending Southampton schools gave him the competitive edge necessary when applying to colleges and, later, in his career with Exxon Mobil.
“My education at Southampton High School was excellent,” said Mr. Dull, who is now retired. “It helped me to do other things with my education and my career. As a result, I have been looking for a way to give something back to the school.”
Schools Superintendent Dr. J. Richard Boyes said the $150,000 donation is the largest the district has received during his tenure, which began in 2007, and the biggest he has seen in his 40 years as an educator. He added that the district is grateful to Mr. Dull for the opportunities his generosity will provide students.
On Monday, the district received the most expensive gift associated with the donation, the tabletop scanning electron microscope. The equipment, which will allow students to see tiny organisms not visible in a standard microscope, is unique and one of only a few on the East End, according to Diane Guida, the lead science teacher at Southampton and a ninth grade biology teacher.
“It is not only changing the program for the school, but it is exciting for science teachers and scientists throughout the East End,” Ms. Guida said of the delivery. “There is no other scanning electron microscope available out here, and access to this equipment will help students on a graduate level.
“We will be able to show kids things you can’t see with a regular microscope,” she continued. “It will excite them and, if they already have an aptitude for science, they will start thinking about going forward with science in terms of a career.”
The district also purchased a centrifuge, dry ice maker and carbon dioxide tank, an inset projector, an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer, digital water baths, E gel electrophoresis and experimental organisms, as well as several other pieces of equipment, all thanks to the donation.
According to Jennifer Keller, an 11th and 12th grade Advanced Placement Environmental Science teacher at Southampton, the donation will help to push the district’s science program forward. She said that with the new instruments, students will be able to see and study key concepts in science, like genetically modified organisms, instead of just reading about them.
“Mr. Dull’s donation is going to allow us to provide opportunities for students to do hands-on, meaningful research in the classroom that applies to real world environmental issues that are happening today,” Ms. Keller said.
Dr. Boyes said the donation, coupled with the recently renovated high school science wing, should help transform the district’s science curriculum into one of the top programs in the country.
“We already have a beautiful facility as a result of our renovation project, but this will add equipment to the program,” he said. “I think the combination of the facility and this equipment will enable us to have a science program that is second to none, not only on Long Island but in the country. We are excited about what this equipment will enable us to offer our students.”