Perry Central School District

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In Their Words…

“Game changer. How else would you describe high school students gaining access to industry-leading technology that is only available at select universities?

Teachers Mark Mancari and Todd Shuskey are redefining what high school students are learning in technology and science classes at PCS. This fall, the pair was notified that they were awarded a $35,415 grant from The Western New York Foundation, as well as an additional $10,000 in funding from Senator Patrick Gallivan. The funds were used to purchase a Seal Analytical AQ300 Nutrient Analyzer and Fisher-Scientific Smart2Pure Water Purification System. The equipment will allow students to conduct cutting-edge nutrient analyses on soil and water.

Last school year, Mancari’s Precision Agriculture students worked with farmers to collect soil samples from area fields. Shuskey created a simple system for these students to measure the presence of nutrients in the soil samples. With Shuskey also establishing a partnership with the Silver Lake Association last year, the pair started to investigate ways for students to conduct more advanced nutrient analyses. Earlier this year, Shuskey’s marine science and senior biology classes went out on Silver Lake to collect water samples and to do basic water analysis.

The new technology will allow students to test soil samples for phosphorus and nitrogen. The eventual goal is that Perry students may conduct testing for local farmers rather than having samples sent to universities for testing. Lake nutrient concentrations are important for Harmful Algal Bloom monitoring as well as overall lake health. Therefore, this equipment will allow samples taken from the Silver Lake watershed to be processed locally.

The acquisition of this new technology is surely a game changer in the opportunities we can offer in science and technology. Having students engaged in local phenomena, such as monitoring nutrient levels in soil and water, helps strengthen the relationship between our students and the local agricultural community while providing students with relatable science practices.”

-Daryl McLaughlin, Superintendent of Schools