Peter Tokofsky / Half Moon Bay Review
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The Half Moon Bay Odd Fellows presented a check in the amount of $10,000 on Monday morning to Half Moon Bay High School Principal John Nazar. The funds raised by the community organization will support industrial arts at the high school and at Cunha Intermediate School and contribute to the scholarship fund at the high school. The gift also includes $1,000 for the robotics club at the high school.

The president of the local Odd Fellows Foundation, Robert David, expressed the mission of the organization to support the community and students as he handed over the check. Nazar offered words of appreciation. “This community is so amazing,” he said. Ona Weinert, a senior at the high school and a member of the robotics club, and faculty sponsor Sean Riordan joined the check ceremony.

After accepting the donation, Nazar led Larkin Evans and Kathy Polk, both former teachers at the school and members of the Odd Fellows Youth Services Committee, on a tour of campus to show them where the impact of their support will be felt and to point out future needs.

They headed to an area on the edge of campus with two recently restored greenhouses. Nazar envisions a strengthened agricultural education program grounded in modern science. He hopes to secure funds to open up a wall of the A Building so classrooms can connect directly to the greenhouses, enabling teachers to work in the classroom while students alternate between studies at their desks and getting their hands in the soil.

Nazar described an agricultural education campus-within-a-campus that can help prepare students to contribute to the local economy.

“Fencing will create a special area and we want to add a wet lab for science projects,” he said. Jennifer Segale, a professional botanist who graduated from the high school and went on to found Wildflower Farms landscape design company, has spoken to Nazar about helping landscape the area.

The two former teachers were impressed. “I remember when this was just a bunch of gopher holes,” Evans commented. Polk added that the greenhouses had fallen into serious disrepair when she was teaching.

Next stop on the tour was the industrial arts building where Anthony Agundes is helping transform the old model of “shop class” into career technical education, known as CTE in education circles. He said the Odd Fellows' contribution is vital. “Some of the tools at the middle school are really old and worn down to a nub,” he said. Agundes is introducing modern technology as he replaces the old equipment. “Teaching building, construction and trades now involves computer science,” Nazar explained as Agundes pointed to computer-driven equipment such as a wood sander, a router and laser sketcher.

Evans, who will become chair of the youth services committee, encourages other members of the community to get involved and contribute what they can.