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HHS shows appreciation to science wing donor with demonstrations

  • Paige Gulley demonstrates what the new microscope in the biology lab can do, as Paul Jones views a sample on display.

    Paige Gulley demonstrates what the new microscope in the biology lab can do, as Paul Jones views a sample on display.
    Travis DeNeal photo

  • Paul Jones points to the house in which he grew up across the street from Harrisburg High School. Jones is a 1966 HHS graduate.

    Paul Jones points to the house in which he grew up across the street from Harrisburg High School. Jones is a 1966 HHS graduate.
    Travis DeNeal photo

  • Paul Jones, at right, and his brother, Dr. Larry Jones, at the dedication of the Paul W. Jones Science Wing Friday at Harrisburg High School.

    Paul Jones, at right, and his brother, Dr. Larry Jones, at the dedication of the Paul W. Jones Science Wing Friday at Harrisburg High School.
    Travis DeNeal photo

  • Seniors Kole Phelps, center, and Jack Gulley give a demonstration of science equipment to Paul Jones, left.

    Seniors Kole Phelps, center, and Jack Gulley give a demonstration of science equipment to Paul Jones, left.
    Travis DeNeal photo

  • Paul Jones, left, participates in an experiment involving a Van de Graaff generator and electrical current led by science teacher Greg Davis, at right.

    Paul Jones, left, participates in an experiment involving a Van de Graaff generator and electrical current led by science teacher Greg Davis, at right.
    Travis DeNeal photo

  • Paul Jones examines his gift - an old micrometer - after receiving it from student Aiden King.

    Paul Jones examines his gift - an old micrometer - after receiving it from student Aiden King.
    Travis DeNeal photo

  • Juniors Madeleine DeNeal, left, and Lydia Miller give a demonstration about bones of the body with a new replica skeleton purchased with money donated by Paul Jones, right.

    Juniors Madeleine DeNeal, left, and Lydia Miller give a demonstration about bones of the body with a new replica skeleton purchased with money donated by Paul Jones, right.
    Travis DeNeal photo

  • Makenzie Marshall demonstrates a Van de Graaff generator Friday during a tour of Harrisburg High School's science wing.

    Makenzie Marshall demonstrates a Van de Graaff generator Friday during a tour of Harrisburg High School's science wing.
    Travis DeNeal photo

 
By Travis DeNeal tdeneal@dailyregister.com
Posted on 9/25/2018, 12:35 PM

HARRISBURG -- Former Harrisburg native Paul Jones received a homecoming reception from Harrisburg High School students, administrators, staff and school board members on Friday, but it wasn't just a way to say welcome home.

It was to say thank you.

Earlier this year, Jones donated $100,000 to the school district for new science equipment and materials. A 1966 graduate, Jones is currently chairman of Rexnord Corp. and remains on the board of directors for A.O. Smith where he was chairman and CEO. He also is on the board of trustees of the University of Evansville, where he got an engineering degree in 1971.

Harrisburg Superintendent Mike Gauch had contacted Jones as part of a letter-writing campaign to HHS graduates, asking for donations to help purchase new educational materials.

While the school is finishing a substantial renovation of the high school, Gauch has said the school's budget has not had much left for new materials.

For the new science wing at the high school, though, Jones' donation has made the newest and best science equipment available.

"A lot of the equipment in the science labs was 50 years old or older," Gauch said. "I'm sure some of it was the same equipment Paul used when he was here."

On Friday, Principal Scott Dewar led Jones and his brother, retired Harrisburg physician Dr. Larry Jones, on a tour of the renovated school.

Early on the tour, the entourage visited a former study hall area, where Jones looked out the window and pointed to the house where he and Larry were raised.

The group then visited the newly named Paul Jones Science Wing, where junior and senior science students demonstrated some of the new equipment bought by Jones' donation.

Science teacher Janet Hughes said it was difficult to quantify just how much her department and the district appreciate Jones' donation.

"To be able to replace all of our old equipment, which mostly was not in very good shape, with new equipment has been just amazing," Hughes told Jones. "It puts our students on the same playing field as other districts."

After the tour, student Aiden King presented Jones with two gifts. One was a micrometer that had been part of the old equipment. The other was a Klein bottle, a vessel with a single, continuous surface, printed at the high school with a 3-D printer bought using Jones' donation.

After Dewar unveiled a plaque bearing Jones' name with the science wing, Jones said those gathered he was proud to be able to help his high school.

"I just wanted to do something to help out, and thank goodness I have the resources to be able to do it," Jones said. "I did walk through the high school two years ago when I was here for my 50th class reunion and frankly, I wasn't very happy with what I got to see. There were just a whole lot of things that were just the same as they were 50 years earlier.

"So when an opportunity came up to do something to help out, I wanted to do it. You didn't need to put my name on a plaque, though it's very nice that you did. I'm just happy to help."