Teacher At Friends' To Research In Kenya

Posted: July 12, 1992

John Gruber, a biology teacher at Friends' Central School in Wynnewood, will be heading to Kenya July 28 as part of the research project called ''Herbs and AIDS."

For two weeks, Gruber will help interview renowned herbalists in Mombasa, Kisumu and Kitale, Kenya, and consider which herbs may have medicinal value in fighting AIDS and other diseases. He will also help to document and preserve traditional medicinal plants.

Gruber said the information from the research would be useful to the biology curriculum at Friends'.

"It will allow us to discuss research on developing anti-HIV drugs and to hypothesize about how such substances might interact with the virus," Gruber said. "It will give us a perfect context for talking about issues of conservation and development along the lines of the recent world summit in Rio de Janeiro, and it will allow us to see examples of the sophisticated chemical substances manufactured by plants when we study botany."

Gruber, who has taught science and geography in Zimbabwe, hopes to bring back seeds of unusual tropical plants for cultivation in the school's greenhouse. There, he is already growing tropical and temperate plants from six continents, including hot peppers from Ecuador and a flowering jasmine tobacco from Brazil.

The trip is being financed in part by the National Science Foundation through the University of California, Davis, with additional support for tuition and airfare from Friends' Central's Fannie Cox Hendrie Fund for Science and Mathematics.


The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a fellowship to Sister Kathleen Dunn, English teacher and department chairwoman at Villa Maria Academy in Malvern.

Sister Dunn is one of 15 teachers selected to participate in the 1992 Summer Seminars for Teachers. She will attend a four-week seminar titled Major Paintings of Winslow Homer, which will be held at Syracuse University.

The fellowship from NEH, a federal grant-making agency, provides each teacher with $2,450 to cover travel, study and living expenses.

Notre Dame Academy in Villanova won first- and second-place honors in the Youth Debates sponsored by the Philadelphia Electric Co. The debates were held recently at St. Joseph's University.

The teams of Jen DeLuca/Ana Smith and Claire Prestel/Anne Williams defeated 42 teams representing 26 schools from Pennsylvania and Maryland in a series of elimination rounds held during the school year.

First-place winners DeLuca and Smith each received a $500 savings bond and an engraved silver trophy. Prestel and Williams each received $250 and smaller silver trophies.

The Youth Debates on Energy focus on various aspects of energy in America and stress persuasive communication.

John J. Tudor, a biology professor at St. Joseph's University, has received a $115,920 grant for his research project on Genome Analysis of the Genus Bdellovibrio. The grant will be disbursed over three years.

Tudor's project involves the investigation of the chromosome structure of a small bacterium to develop a genetic map. The long-term goal is to determine how the bacterium infects other bacteria. The original bacterium could then be used as a model system to determine how bacteria infect animal organisms.

Tudor, of Broomall, has taught at the university since 1977.

Students in Hank Fetterman's video production class at Marple Newtown High School recently visited the fifth grade academically talented program at Media Elementary School, where the youngsters were studying animation and film- making.

The fifth graders in Maria Kotch's class watched as Michael Pirillo and Beth Longnecker sang, were directed by choir director Richard Gwirtz and filmed by cameramen and fellow students Andy Altrichter and Brian Getter.

The youngsters watched as adjustments were made to voice levels, camera angles and color balance. They also saw the tape after it was edited by Marple Newtown's Ben DelVaccio for playback and final viewing.

The Junior Saturday Club of Wayne and the Wayne Lions Club raised $8,075 for the Radnor High School Scholarship Fund through the Main Line Charity Ball this spring. The check was given to Arthur Lewis, president of the fund.

The fund, founded in 1966 to provide financial aid to deserving graduates of Radnor High School, has provided more than $300,000 in grants to about 450 graduates. Grants are usually $500 and $1,000.

All seniors who plan to pursue post-high school education can apply through the guidance office. The awards are based on pre-established need, grades, school and community activities and a commitment to further education.

The Haverford Middle School Jazz Ensemble received an award for the Best Trumpet Section for its performance at the 19th annual Bala Cynwyd Jazz Festival this spring.

Under the direction of Joseph Brennan, the trumpet players are Andrew Pudimont, Jay Darley and Tyler Wagner.

After studying western expansion and reading the story Little House on the Prairie, third graders at Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Bryn Mawr dressed as pioneers and had a picnic on the school grounds recently.

The Worrall School Fifth Grade Select Vocal Ensemble entertained residents at Martin's Run, a retirement community in Marple Township, and represented the school at the All-District Music Festival.

According to music teacher Barbara Heller, the youngsters gave up their lunch recess for three months to prepare for the performance.

Members of the school ensemble are Brian Ehret, Katie Murphy, Jim Devine, Becky Stone, Kelly Fischer, Melissa Scanlon, Amy Kapovic, Lisa Dougherty, Leslie Vandergoes, Jennifer Oppeltz, Julie Young, Laura Richardson, Allison Ruscitelli, Kelly Slattery, Michael Stagliano, Laura Stidham, Jean Brown, Cindy Felter and Davie Kraynik.

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