Riverdale teen transforms passion into teaching gig
Logan Rooper makes school history with project
Logan Rooper isnt just a Riverdale High School senior.
Rooper is a Riverdale teacher.
The 18-year-old isnt a student aide, nor is he covering light material. This trimester, the school began offering Roopers advanced science class, the first student-created and student-led course at Riverdale. Called Exploratory Ventures, or XV, students implement laser-sharp technology to study the environment, kicking off the course by examining what plagues the sea: rising water levels, temperatures and toxicity levels.
The oceans are a major piece to humanitys existence on earth, yet we only know very little about them, Rooper said. Its imperative that humans study the ocean, so why not start in high school?
His class has two parts. His students hit the textbooks, absorbing information on physical oceanography, geology, marine biology and ecosystems, marine technology and an introduction to robotics and computer science. Students are applying what theyre studying, but not with an ordinary lab.
Theyre building modules that serve as tiny testing labs. On May 29, the students will troop over to Newport to put the modules into action. Attached to a 200-pound remote-operated vehicle, students will send them 120 feet down into the water.
Rooper said a friendly sea captain partially donated the use of his 45-foot deep-sea fishing boat. How long the ROV is submerged depends on how sick the students get while rocking on the boat, possibly two to four hours, Rooper said.
Riverdale senior Avi Berne said he hasnt chosen what his mini-lab will assess it is week two of the class after all. So far, Berne, a friend of Roopers, loves the class.
I think its one of the greatest ideas to come to Riverdale, said Berne, 18.
XV sprung from the Near Space Venture project Rooper did for kicks last summer with his classmates, shooting a vehicle more than 70,000 feet into the sky and taking video of the view below.
In the wake of a successful launch, Rooper wanted to continue. A classmates parent asked if hed considered transforming the project into a class, he said. At first it seemed an overwhelming undertaking.
I said no, theres no way Im doing that, Rooper said. But then I got sucked into it. Its been fantastic.
He decided he wanted to explore oceans this time and approached Riverdale Principal Paula Robinson with the idea. She approved and said Rooper has exhibited exemplary knowledge and character.
Hes demonstrated accuracy, motivation and tenacity, Robinson said.
The only wrinkle has been funding. Rooper spent the first two trimesters planning curriculum, pushing through paperwork to allow the class and creating a funding plan. Riverdale had no spare cash for the class, but the community came through with $4,800. This years budget is $4,298, according to course materials. Rooper said he will put any leftovers toward next year.
I was very impressed with the level of interest and engagement in the community, he said.
Robinson said the school lacks the staffing to run XV, so another student will have to step up and take the reins to continue it. Rooper is optimistic that someone will.
There are a lot of students in the class who are very, very talented, Rooper said.
He added that some of them helped him come up with ideas for his coursework. The class is full, and theres a waiting list, so the demand is there.
Rooper has applied to 11 colleges and said he is interested in computer science and environmental studies but doesnt yet know what his major will be. Hes been accepted by schools including Duke University, landing a place in its engineering school.
A fan of the way things work since he was a child, he has gone from visits to Oregon Museum of Science and Industry to advanced science in a short period. Last year, he completed a research internship in cryptography and network security at Portland State University. The study of climate change is a passion of his that arose after seeing news stories and former Vice President Al Gores An Inconvenient Truth.
Hes not sure where it will take him, but teaching his course has thrilled him.
Its been fantastic, Rooper said. People have been helping me along every step of the way.Add a comment