Lake Wyola, here comes Fownes

Before coming to Amherst Regional High School, science teacher Jim Fownes was a professor for 22 years. He enjoyed it, and was very successful, enjoying many days spent on research, as well.

Dr. Fownes started off his first year at ARHS as a long term substitute teacher. After that year, he went on to teach for 10 more years.

Dr. Fownes has worked hard in the science department. He co-authored the ninth grade science curriculum, crafted the original AP Biology curriculum, and revised the new one with science teacher Annie Paradis.

Dr. Fownes is also extremely proud of the independent research project that he created for students to engage in. This project allows AP Biology students to spend several weeks doing tests or experiments of their own creation, then writing a report and presenting their findings to the class.

Dr. Fownes taught ninth grade Ecology and Environmental science, tenth grade Genetics and Evolution, and AP Biology. He taught each class with enthusiasm, making sure all of his students worked hard.  In addition to doing the best job he could, he always aimed to keep a sense of humor.

“I have a strong conviction that what we do is interesting and important and that the young scholars can achieve great things,” said Dr. Fownes. “Hard working, smart imaginative students are in every class and it’s great to see them succeed.”

When asked if he could do anything differently in life or teaching, what would he change, Dr. Fownes said, “I used to be a dishwasher and waiter at a restaurant. I wish I did it earlier since I learned so many lessons on hard work and getting along with people. It was then that I learned to focus my energy on doing the best job that I could.”

Dr. Fownes hopes for all his students that “they will work hard, play fair, take care of themselves, and take care of each other.”

As for him, he will pursue lots of passions he holds dear.

Outside of school, Dr. Fownes likes to play the piano and call dances for contra dancing. When he retires, his plans are to “get a good night sleep every night, get some fresh air and exercise, and find time to practice piano.”

In the summer, Dr. Fownes used to take his biology book to Lake Wyola. He said he would diligently read a chapter to plan his curriculum, and then he would take a dip.

This summer, he will get to spend all his time swimming and sunning, and he can read everything for fun.