Chamberlain grateful for support

Carol Roehm|Commercial-NewsBeth Chamberlain, who has been a science teacher at Danville High School for 14 years, will retire at the end of the school year.

DANVILLE — Reflecting on her time at Danville High School, science instructor Beth Chamberlain said her favorite memory has to be all the support she received from others that provided opportunities her students.

“I was given the opportunity to reach out to many people for the benefit of my students,” she said. “My students have benefitted because I had so much support.”

Among those who provided opportunities and support were the Danville Public School Foundation, University of Illinois, Danville District 118, Danville Area Community College and the Danville community as a whole.

“The Danville Public School Foundation provided me with grant money for eight years to implement the Science Road Show, a program where high school students mentor elementary students while doing hands-on science activities at their school,” she said.

One of Chamberlain’s alma maters, the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, provided her with the opportunity to be a cooperating teacher to seven student teachers.

“District 118 provided high school and college-age mentors and me with the opportunity to direct summer school science to second- through fifth-graders to show science is fun,” she said.

Chamberlain also has a special spot in her heart for DACC.

“DACC provided the opportunity for another Danville High School chemistry teacher and myself to entertain an audience with the Chemistry Magic Show at their Family Science Fun Night for about six years,” she said.

Last but not least, the generosity of the community – including financial support from Vermilion Advantage and many local businesses – allowed Chamberlain and several high school and college-age mentors to offer two weeklong science camps each summer for the last 14 years at the Danville Family YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club. The summer science camps have been popular with second- through eighth-grade boys and girls.

Although Chamberlain is retiring from Danville District 118 on the last day of school on Wednesday, she is looking forward to directing this summer’s science camps that are set for July 8-12 at the Danville Family YMCA and July 15-19 at the Boys and Girls Club.

“The camp will continue even though I am retiring,” she vowed.

For her retirement, Chamberlain has quite a few adventures on various modes of transportation planned.

“I plan to travel by plane, car and my bicycle,” she said. “The big trip is with my daughter to Tokyo and then to Australia to scuba the Great Barrier Reef.”

She also is looking forward to traveling with her husband when they don’t have “to pay premium prices” during the busiest travel times each year.

“My husband calls it the ‘Teacher Discount!’” she joked.

“I want to ride my bicycle with my brother who rode across Wyoming last year,” she said. “I want to spend more time with my siblings and my mom who all live in Oregon.”

Although Chamberlain said she won’t miss grading papers, she will miss her students.

“Being a teacher is an amazing, and sometimes crazy, profession,” she said. “I thank God for giving me the opportunity to touch so many lives.”

Also retiring from Danville High School at the end of the school year Wednesday are Mark Learnard, teacher, 12 years of service; and Randall Osgood, teaching assistant, six years of service.

Beth Chamberlain

Position: Science instructor at Danville High School

Age: 55

Education: Graduated Pleasant Plains High School in Pleasant Plains, Ill., University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in secondary education with a major in biology and a minor in physical science, and Eastern Illinois University with a master’s degree in education of physical sciences.

Experience: Has been at Danville High School for 14 years, teaching chemistry, physics, AP physics, physical science and principles of engineering, in addition to serving as science department co-chair, ACE House leader, Key Club adviser and UIUC cooperating teacher. Prior to her service in District 118, she taught chemistry and lab science for 11 years at Tuscola High School; taught biology and chemistry for four years at Mattoon High School; taught seventh-grade life science and high school anatomy/physiology, physics, chemistry and general science as well as coached girls’ basketball and softball for four years at Bethany Junior/Senior High School; and taught eighth- and ninth-grade earth science and physical science for a half year at Tri-City Junior/Senior High School in Buffalo, Ill.