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Port Jervis High School
"Port Pride!!"

Alumni Endowment Paves Way for Wildlife Learning Sanctuary

Port PrideJune 30 , 2016, PJHS Port Jervis, NY - Port Jervis High School welcomed back Dr. Lawrence Taylor, (PJHS Class of 1956, HOF 2015), to do some yard work on the Route 209 campus.  With pick-ax in hand, Taylor broke ground on a brand new outdoor science learning center. The Dr. Lawrence Taylor Wildlife Learning Sanctuary will be a living, outdoor learning space for students to explore in ways not possible in a regular classroom.

Taking advantage of unused space in the high school courtyard, this science center will offer students and staff a new, unique learning environment.  Led by Garden State Koi, two aquatic areas were created.  A large pond is the highlight of the project.  Consisting of fresh flowing water, the pond will be home to fish, frogs, turtles and greenery.  There is also a two basin fountain with circulating water near the center of the yard.  The spill basin was a gift from the Class of 2016.  Future plans around these areas will enhance the environment and provide additional educational opportunities for students.

Dr. Taylor wasn't alone to do all the digging.  More than a dozen high school students joined their fellow Raider to make this dream become reality.  Principal Andrew Marotta and teachers Padraic McCarthy, Kasey Stankunas, and Tracy West Barnes were on hand to assist as well. 

This project began in the fall of 2015 when Dr. Taylor was enshrined into the PJHS Alumni Hall of Fame.  During his speech, he talked of growing up in Port Jervis, and how his high school friends and teachers had a long-lasting impression on him.  It was that early upbringing that led Taylor to some lofty career highlights.

Upon graduating Port Jervis High in 1956, Dr. Taylor’s academic career continued at Orange County Community College. He went on to achieve his Ph.D. at Lehigh University. This education led him to the study of rocks, from earth and beyond. His research includes exploration for diamonds in northern Siberia, as well as rocks from the Moon, Mars, and asteroidal meteorites. Larry and his wife Dawn have traveled the world in pursuit of these scientific endeavors.  Dr. Taylor was part of the “back room” team at the Johnson Space Center, advising Apollo 16 and 17 astronauts on which rocks to document and collect on these final two missions to the Moon. This collaboration led to a strong friendship with Jack Schmitt, the last man to walk on the moon.

Lofty goals follow this project.  Plans are coming together for a Dr. Taylor science scholarship and additional development in the courtyard.  With his knowledge of the moon, asteroids, and Mars, it's clear that lofty goals suit Dr. Taylor well.

The Dr. Lawrence Taylor Wildlife Learning Sanctuary

  • Outdoor learning space for staff and students

  • Utilizing open space in the center courtyard

  • Quiet Zone for learning and reading

  • Future plans to enhance the courtyard learning experience

  • Dr. Taylor Scholarship in development

Utilizing this space is one step in developing areas on campus to enhance the quality of education in our district.  The Dr. Taylor Wildlife Learning Sanctuary is set to have a ribbon cutting September 2016.

Port Pride!

Click here for complete photo gallery of the Dr. Lawrence Taylor Wildlife Learning Sanctuary Project