Discovery Day: Inspiring the next generation of paleontologists

Sydney Wuu, Staff Writer

Did you know that Webb is the only high school in the world to feature an accredited museum of paleontology on campus?

On May 12th, the Raymond Alf Museum of Paleontology hosted an interactive role-play event called Family Science Discovery Day. Local families discovered about necessary skills to pursue different ranks and jobs of paleontologists. Kids stepped into the shoes of junior scientists to complete quests and collect stamps for museum paleontologists.

Admission cost five dollars per person, but was free for kids four and under. Student volunteers earned a Peccary Society shirt, along with unlimited snacks, drinks, and Discovery Day laptop stickers for their time and enthusiasm.

Olivia Vasquez (‘19), President of the Peccary Club, devotes two out of her three seasons of afternoon-activity to the museum. “My favorite part of the museum is going through old drawers and collections and finding stuff I didn’t know we had. The other day, I found this crystallized petrified wood and the next, I found this fossilized apple. I discover new things on a daily basis! Also, I’m at the museum so often that they should consider me a fossil. I’m basically part of the collection.”

Gabriel Hong (‘20) is currently enrolled in Honors Paleontology and Museum Research class. “This is my first Discovery Day, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I love how happy the kids are when they play with the dinosaur sound mimicker. I also like how all the people who work at Discovery Day are all passionate about the museum.”

Elaine Shao (‘21) is a Peccary Club member and two-time Discovery Day volunteer. “I like volunteering because I enjoy seeing the kids learn more about fossils while also learning more about Webb. I am really happy that our school has this great resource that we get to share with more people.”

Mr. Gabriel-Philip Santos, Collections Manager and Outreach Coordinator, commented, “I think that this Discovery Day is going excellent. There are a lot of people here of all ages who are all very engaged. As for next school year, we will host a whole new set of Discovery Days, and if you are interested, you should definitely check out our Pop Paleo event at Comic Con next week at the Ontario Convention Center.”

As for the museum’s younger visitors, Victoria from Girl Scout Troop 5504 said that her favorite aspect of the tour was “the bones.” Will, an eight-year-old visitor, remarked that he enjoyed “the skeleton of the bear-dog” the most.

Organizing a large-scale event like Discovery Day would be impossible without the help of dedicated student volunteers and museum staff. After all, 95% of the museum’s more than 150,000 specimens were discovered by Webb students, teachers, and alumni.

Who knows what secrets of the past Webbies are going to uncover next?