SCH Robotics Chair Named Phillies All-Star Teacher of 2020

Some exciting news! SCH's very own Peter Randall '69, Department of Engineering & Robotics Chair, was selected as one of the Top 10 Phillies All-Star Teachers this year.

Selected from a pool of 400+ entries, SCH parent Donna Schapiro wrote an essay about Peter's impact on the SCH community. Due to the status of the MLB season, the date of the Phillies game where both Peter and Donna will be recognized has not been chosen yet. Please enjoy Donna's essay nomination below:

It is my pleasure to recommend Peter Randall, Department Chairman of Engineering and Robotics, as a 2020 Phillies All-Star Teacher.

I’m Donna Schapiro, representing the parents from Springside Chestnut Hill (SCH) Academy. I’ve participated extensively in my son’s schools and worked with many excellent teachers, but Peter is in another ballpark entirely.

His teaching philosophy is, “If you’re not falling down, you’re not learning to ski.” From the earliest grades, Peter passionately teaches students to accept “falling down” as part of the learning process and to take lessons from what didn’t work and apply them to their next try, called “falling forward.” It’s much more valuable than getting things right the first time and the best kind of teaching and leading. Peter believes in each of his kids and instills in them that same belief.  His students take their learning from FIRST robotics and engineering and carry it throughout their school experiences and into the world beyond.

STEM education is vitally important today because our world depends on it. We can all agree it’s more important than ever for children to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems. That’s the task Peter embraces in his 18 years of teaching. 

Is he effective? Peter’s involvement has touched thousands of lives. One of those affected is Chelsey Roebuck. As a young boy, Chelsey had no thoughts of engineering, but when he participated in FIRST Robotics under Peter’s guidance, he discovered a great fit. After graduating from Columbia in Mechanical Engineering, Chelsey founded ELiTE (Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering) that uses STEM education to empower students from underserved communities to realize their potential. When Chelsey received the Rising Star Award from FIRST, Peter was first on Chelsey’s guest list. Peter’s passion for learning was being paid forward to other students throughout the world.

Over 500 students grade 1st – 12th participate in Peter’s robotics and engineering programs each year.

  • Robotics: Oversees three teams – Elementary, Jr. High and High School -- in their various FIRST programs, meeting before school, after school and weekends! As for going deep, after 350+ student hours of work, Peter’s team, along with their Alliance, won the 2019 Detroit World Championship! In fact, under Peter’s stewardship, SCH Team Vulcan has qualified to compete in 15 of the last 16 championships.
  • Engineering: Supports student interests to brainstorm and create. Evan Weinstein, Class of 2015, is on his way to becoming a 3D Chocolatier, having developed his passion in Peter’s class.
  • Planes: Mentors a group of determined students who come to school at 7 AM to work on building a Bede BD4 plane that was won on a student grant proposal.

How fortunate for us that Peter loves what he does. He teaches our kids how to approach complex problems they’ve never seen before and to solve them using perseverance, resourcefulness, resilience, teamwork and communication. It’s hard to say who admires and respects Peter more: the kids or their parents. Peter is as “All-Star” as it gets! 

Stay tuned for more updates on this wonderful opportunity to recognize a beloved leader within the SCH community! 

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