California High School – 1995 Winner

William Pence, a science teacher at California High School in San Ramon who was honored in 1995, created and facilitated a research program for two of his students that resulted in a discovery regarding cancer and genetics that received worldwide attention.  Mr. Pence worked with Lawrence Livermore Lab to identify the genes to be studied, helped the students design the project, borrowed equipment necessary to enable the students to conduct the experiment and traveled to and from Lawrence Livermore Lab to keep up the supply of necessary genetic material and chemicals.  Mr. Pence repeatedly takes his students outside the classroom to educate them in ecology and the environment.  He led students in planting trees after the Oakland hills fire of 1991, painted storm drains with them to discourage pollution from dumping, took them to Santa Catalina Island for an intensive oceanography course and traveled with them to the Central America to study how to preserve rain forests.