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Teacher displays dual aspects

The stench of acid fills the air as students grapple with scalpels and scissors. Their target lies before them with its amphibian skin pinned to the plate. With tweezers in one hand and scissors in the other, the teacher pries apart the skin and pulls out its organs while the class follows in suite.

After a ten-year career in physical therapy, Bill McGowen, biology teacher and varsity baseball coach, arrives on campus eager to pass on his experiences to the students.

?I was considering where to teach, particularly in the Central and Clovis districts, when a friend of mine, Paul Meadors, asked if I have ever considered teaching at Fresno Christian,? McGowen said. ?I knew it was God guiding me when I later found out two of the positions needed were in biology and baseball.?

McGowen hopes to transfer his passion for biology to all of his students.

?Biology is such a dynamic science and it is sometimes difficult to get the pages to come alive,? McGowen said. ?I know it is not going to happen overnight but my overall goal is to have a biology curriculum that takes a leading role in the Valley for training the next doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, vets and physical therapists.

So far, biology classes have performed a number of labs and experiments.

?We had a lab dealing with measuring pH to see if different chemicals were an acid or a base,? Paige Powell, ?10, said. ?He [McGowen] is really nice and so far we haven?t had too much homework besides worksheets and reading chapters.?

Besides teaching students how to measure pH and dissect specimens, McGowen strikes a similarity to Jim Morris, a science teacher that became a major league baseball player, with his love for baseball.

?I first got interested in coaching when I had finished playing baseball at UOP and was looking to sign as a free-agent professionally,? McGowen said. ?I loved being able to pass on the knowledge that I had learned from some of the great coaches I was blessed to play under.?

After graduating from the University of the Pacific in 1993, McGowen coached baseball for two years at Yosemite High School. In 1994, as an assistant coach, he help lead the Badgers to their first Central Section baseball title and No. 1 CA state ranking.

?I had many great experiences playing and coaching baseball and still have a lot of friendships and contacts because of it,? McGowen said. ?I had the pleasure of coaching Ted Lilly, currently with the Toronto Blue Jays, and on the same team had a pitcher, Jay Spurgeon, who pitched in the MLB for the Baltimore Orioles.?

The baseball coaching staff: Scott Falk, McGowen, and Scott Hulme hold baseball practices to keep players? shoulders and elbows in baseball shape. These practices last from 4-5 P.M. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

?They are very low-key practices that focus on teaching fundamentals and making the game fun,? McGowen said. ?They are in no way mandatory and anyone interested in participating in baseball this year is welcome to come out.?

Even though they are not mandatory practices, four students regularly attend them.

?Even though they are only volunteer practices, I still wanted to go to them because I wanted to play baseball,? Dustin McDonald, ?09, said. ?We field groundballs and have batting practice and through these drills I will become better at the sport.?

McGowen resides in Old Fig with his wife, Jessica, and their three children: son, Peyton, and their daughters, Meliz and Milani. He enjoys road and mountain cycling, running, hiking, fish, golf, basketball and tennis.

?We were so impressed by the quality of the staff that even though it is a stretch for us, we decided to send our daughter, Meliz to Fresno Christian,? McGowen said. ?It is amazing how God has guided my life in ways such as this if I am patient and follow his timing.?

For more information on McGowen, biology or baseball contact him at [email protected]

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