Teacher of the Year hits new heights with Alvirne JROTC cadets

Sep. 22—Mount Washington had some special visitors last week when about 25 JROTC cadets from Alvirne High School joined Christian Cheetham, the 2023 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year, for a unique field trip to the summit.

Cheetham, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret.),is an Aerospace Science Instructor for Alvirne High School AF JROTC.

Taking the Cog Railway to the top of the highest peak in the Northeast, the crew had the privilege of touring the Mount Washington Observatory, including its weather station, to learn more about severe weather, forecasts and climate. Joined by members of the New Hampshire Department of Education on Friday, the group was able to watch scientists monitor the early signs of Hurricane Lee.

"Getting these kids out of the classroom and providing them with such a hands-on experience is awesome. Even though most of these students have lived in New Hampshire their whole lives, most of them have never been up top on Mount Washington. To get up there and see its beauty is a very memorable experience," said Cheetham.

"It was great to go inside and learn the science aspect of the observatory, as well as the weather instruments and the in-depth explanations from actual scientists, which was amazing," said Logan Casey, a senior at Alvirne High School.

The Mount Washington Observatory is an incredible resource in New Hampshire's White Mountains, according to Brian Fitzgerald, director of education for the Mount Washington Observatory.

"This is right in their backyard, pushing to make science and STEM relevant for younger generations. We want students to learn all they can about phenomenal STEM careers," said Fitzgerald, adding he is working to ensure that these field trips are available to schools at low or no cost.

"The Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, Mount Washington Cog Railway, and Mount Washington Observatory all played important roles in helping the NH Department of Education plan this special trip celebrating Cheetham's dedication to STEM education and the scientific inquiry of his students."