Jack Andraka Visits Reddish Vale High School

Jack Andraka with Theo Hudson, a student from Reddish Vale High School.
Year 6 pupils from Abingdon Primary celebrating British Science Week, joined pupils from Reddish Vale for a visit from very special guest, the inspirational Jack Andraka.
18 year-old Jack was touring to promote his book, Breakthrough, which tells the story behind his revolutionary discovery. Jack started investigating new, cheap tests for early detection of certain cancers when he was just 13, the same age as many of the pupils in the room.
Henry, a student from Abingdon Primary, said, “It was very inspiring to meet someone who has had so much success.” Elizabeth Teague, a pupil from Reddish Vale, added, “It was amazing to meet such a talented and inspiring person. It’s made me want to be like him.”
Jack demonstrated an experiment from his book, which had everyone enthralled. He answered questions from the audience about his work and his life at school. Manchester Children’s Book Festival Director Kaye Tew said,

“The pupils were so attentive throughout Jack’s talk and I was amazed at the detailed questions the pupils asked Jack at the end. Some of the questions were very scientific, delving into the detail of some of the processes he had described. Other students asked ethical questions, about how Jack would ensure that large corporations didn’t make money out of his work when his intention is to create cheap and simple tests that will benefit everyone. Others took us into the realm of science fiction, with what-if scenarios about the Nano-Bots that Jack had described.”

Jack told the audience about some of the problems he had growing up, “Being a bit of a geek and then realising I was gay didn’t exactly mean I got an easy ride in school.” He immersed himself his work and now is a bit of an urban legend in his school. Theo Hudson, a student from Reddish Vale, commented, “Jack is very inspiring and it is nice to see that he faced the same problems in school as we do.”
Lisa Carter, an English teacher at Reddish Vale, said, “We chose to use the event as a reward for those pupils who’ve shown great achievement or effort in science. Jack Andraka was a brilliant role model for them, and he clearly fired their imagination and engaged them in his talk.
“The best aspect, in my opinion, was the amount of time Jack spent on their questions, and in talking to students afterwards. The pupils were fascinated by his experiences and I think they enjoyed the challenge of the content – and not being patronized.
“The primary pupils probably understood less of the science, but were awed by the event and the quality of our pupils’ questions – making it an aspirational event for all the children. All the adults involved were also very positive and want to know when the next one is!”
Compton Valance conducting Experiment #7

Compton Valance took some time out of his Manchester Children’s Book Festival duties and tried out Jack’s Experiment #7 The Sucking Glass. Try it yourself and send us a picture to be published on the International Reading and Writing Relay.

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