By Nikki Silverstein
Hero: Marin County science teacher and rapper Nick Williams has got it goin’ on. Williams, the science department chair at San Marin High School in Novato, won the national Milken Educator Award, which recognizes classroom heroes and comes with a $25,000 prize. Yo, Mr. Williams. A self-described “accomplished science-themed rapper,” this top teacher uses rap to help students learn. Not only does he write lyrics, he performs them: “If you’ve got a lot of physics force problems, bring ’em to my head, you know that I’ll solve them,” is the beginning of his song about Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion. Williams’ unique methods work. As a teacher in the Advancement Via Individual Determination program, all 30 of his students were accepted to and enrolled in college.
Zero: Usually, we grumble about out-of-control bicyclists, but this time we’re presenting the perspective of Lila, a respectful cyclist who commutes to and from work on her bike via the Mill Valley-Sausalito Path. With shorter days, it’s dark on her way home, so she rides slowly, keeps her front and rear bike lamps on and when necessary, rings her bell and calls out politely to alert others of her presence. Unfortunately, many cyclists and pedestrians don’t use lights, causing some frightening near-misses. This week, two people dressed in black walked abreast on the trail and Lila swerved to avoid hitting the almost invisible duo. In return for her efforts, she received a barrage of barnyard epithets from the Zero couple. C’mon, folks—use lights and civility.
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