KSU honors Topeka teacher for chemistry instruction

By The Mercury

When it comes to teaching chemistry, Topeka High School’s Anton Ahrens has the formula for success.

The chemistry department in the College of Arts and Sciences at Kansas State University is recognizing Ahrens with the 2013-2014 Phyllis Johnson Patrick Outstanding High School Chemistry Teaching Award. It will be presented at a special luncheon Oct. 3 on the Manhattan campus and includes a $1,000 honorarium.

The award, presented annually, recognizes an outstanding Kansas high school teacher who has demonstrated the ability to inspire excitement and interest about chemistry among his or her students through exemplary teaching.

Ahrens is a 1980 graduate of Kansas State University, earning his bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He taught chemistry, physics and physical science at Highland Park High School in Topeka from 1980-1982, then earned his master’s degree in physical chemistry from the University of Kansas in 1984. That same year he accepted his current position at Topeka High School, where he has taught chemistry, AP chemistry and physical science to around 4,500 students. Many of his students have gone on to successful careers in scientific research, medicine and education.

“Just as Mrs. Patrick did, Anton does an exceptional job engaging his students in the wonders and importance of chemistry. It’s a pleasure to be able to recognize his talents,” said Eric Maatta, professor and head of the university’s chemistry department.

Although Jerry Patrick died in 2011, his son, Kerry Patrick, Leawood, has continued with the award and lecture series. Kerry Patrick also is an alumnus of Kansas State University.

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