For 36 years, Mark Weaver made learning fun for his science students at Clay Middle School.
Weaver, 59, retired following the 2017-18 school year, but he will long be remembered.
In addition, an outdoor ecology lab at the school was named “Weaver Woods” in his honor at a Sept. 27 dedication ceremony.
Weaver received the Sagamore of the Wabash for the second time and accepted the award from Gov. Eric Holcolmb by State Rep. Donna Schaibley, a Carmel resident. He received his first Sagamore of the Wabash in 2003 from then-Gov. Joe Kernan.
“Mark brought science to life both inside and outside the classroom,” Schaibley said. “In reading about Mark, I learned his love of science is legendary at Clay Middle School. The innovative way he transmitted his love for all things science set him apart and made him such an exemplary teacher.”
Weaver was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 2011. He earned the title of Indiana State Teacher of the Year in 2004 and was chosen Carmel Clay Schools Teacher of the Year in 2003.
In 1996, Weaver received the IPL Golden Apple Award and used the grant money to travel to Manitoba, Canada, to observe the polar bear migration, an experience he shared with his students by phone and computer.
Clay Principal Todd Crosby described Weaver as a one-of-a-kind educator.
“For 36 years, science came alive for students of Mark Weaver,” Crosby said. “He always took the time to share his love of science with everyone around him. As principal, I’ve been touched by the sparkle of Mark Weaver.
Carmel Clay Schools Board of Trustees President Layla Spanenberg said she is most impressed by the impact Weaver had on thousands of students.
“You’ve enhanced their education and given them the tools to process ideas beyond their time here,” Spanenberg said.
Carmel High School senior Thomas Dziwlik, a former Clay Middle School student, dedicated his Eagle Scout project to cleaning up the outdoor lab area in 2015. Dziwlik then returned earlier this year to help get it in shape for the dedication.
Dwizwlik never had Weaver as a teacher but knew him from around the school.
“It was an honor to let me do this for him,” Dziwlik said.
Weaver was joined at the ceremony by his mother, Barbara, 83.
“It’s everybody’s outdoor lab,” Weaver said. “The best thing about it is not about my name, but the important thing is there is going to be a commitment in time that kids and teachers can use it. It’s not about me. It’s about everyone who has done something to make this a lasting legacy for other people.”