Surprise DVD in West recycle bin

       West science teacher Ranganath Weiner knew, five years ago, that photos taken of his space technology students by the Lockheed-Martin company would be used to promote space education.
       But he didn't know until recently - in digging through a West recycle bin, of all places - that one of the pictures had made the cover of a DVD that has been distributed to schools worldwide through a program called STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education).
       Lockheed-Martin selected West for the photo shoot in 2004 after Weiner's students won the National Engineering Design competition. The DVD photo shows several students involved in a shuttle flight simulation.
       He had signed photo releases for the pictures and knew they would be used by STEM, but did not realize that one of them would grave the cover of “specifically this DVD with such wide distribution,” said Weiner, who teaches space and technology as an elective and is a long-time member of the Aerospace Industries Association.
       He is especially proud of a letter he recently received from a student at that time, Alison Irish, now a senior in high school, who plans to study aeronautical engineering in college. “Thanks for your amazing spirit that taught me to reach for the stars,” she wrote.
       How was it Weiner never knew about the DVD? He said it had been “sent to West addressed to a former school counselor. It then ended up in the recycle box in the mail room where I salvaged it to recycle the cover only to realize what it was.”

Westside Pioneer/District 11 Communication