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A Vore-acious Love of Science

Posted 02/09/2016 by Jordan Prochnow

Vore offers a riveting and educational demonstration for his students, ensuring that the lesson will stick with them. photo by Sasha Mesropov

Nelson Vore brings creativity and enthusiasm to his science classes.

Albert Einstein once said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” The teachers that one has in high school play a significant part in a student’s life, due to their passion and dedication that they have for teaching. TJ’s science teacher Nelson Vore is one of these teachers, offering inspiring classes and giving his students the desire to learn about a complex subject matter.

Vore grew up in Calgary, in Alberta, Canada, and received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Calgary in 1982. While Vore initially wanted to major in history, he realized that this wasn’t a practical idea due to lack of job availability. “If you want a job in science, one good choice is to become an engineer,” explained Vore. “Engineering is just hardcore physics and math.” He lived in Calgary for about 25 years before coming to Denver, stating that “you get tired of the -35 degree weather” that Canada offers. Since Vore decided to become a teacher during his last year of college, he attended the University of Colorado Denver in order to receive his teaching certification and Master’s Degree in Education. Vore taught middle school students for 20 years before coming to TJ in 2006 to teach Physical Science and Physics. “I think that of all the sciences, physics is my favorite since it’s the most fundamental,” said Vore. “The most basic laws of the universe are in physics.”

Vore’s classes are filled with fun and interesting demonstrations, rigorous problem sets to prepare for tests, and games to test students’ knowledge of science facts. In Honors Physics, students participate in many contests as well, including egg drops, paper airplanes, and the famous catapult unit each Spring. AP Physics studies more topics than the honors classes, and is more rigorous in general, but there are still plenty of contest labs and demos as well. “The hardest part about AP Physics is all the information,” said Colton Hook, a junior in AP Physics. “The class moves quickly and you have to be able to use everything you’ve learned at any time and remember it for the AP test.” Vore stated that he would love to see at least half of his students from Honors Physics move on to AP next year, and that he wants 80% or more of his AP students to pass the AP exam in May.

Vore’s love of teaching and his dedication to his students result in his students looking forward to class every day. “The amount of energy and passion he puts into his work really shows how much he cares about our learning,” said junior and Honors Physics student Erik Stolz. “As an aspiring engineer, physics is very important and taking his class is the first step. I couldn’t ask for a better teacher to start me down my path to this career choice.” Vore’s fellow teachers view him as a valuable member of the science department and admire his commitment to students and their learning. “I would not be the teacher I am today were it not for his mentorship,” said Brett Butera, one of TJ’s science teachers. “He is the embodiment of professionalism and we are lucky to have him at TJ.  It is an honor to share an office with him; I look forward to working with him every day, as he is one of the most intelligent, funny, and sincere people that I know.”

Outside of school, Vore enjoys learning about history, taking photographs, and playing classical piano. “I started playing piano when I was in grade three,” said Vore. His parents made him sign up for lessons, but he quit once he entered high school. After he graduated, however, Vore began to play again, and was thankful that his parents made him take lessons as a child. “It’s totally different from anything that I do all day. It’s totally, absolutely immersing,” he explained. “It’s just a good way to empty your mind of what has happened during the day and focus on something different.”

Vore embodies the hard work and dedication that all teachers should have. While science can be a challenging subject, Vore’s passion and adoration for teaching provides students with a learning experience unlike any other.