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The following appeared January 10, 2005 in the

Boca resident donates money to local schools for science equipment.

By Nicol Jenkins
Boca Raton News Staff Writer

ublished January 10, 2005

    With recent budget cuts, Palm Beach County Schools need all the help they can get when it comes to funding. Determined to help close the “funding gap” one Boca resident has been donating money and science equipment to local schools.

    Richard Newman, owner of, has given thousands of dollars worth of science equipment and established ‘Science and Technology Centers’ at 19 schools and Scout Camps throughout the country. And the most recent contribution is in our own backyard. Newman has donated 40 Geiger counters to the science department of West Boca Raton Community High School, which totaled over $30,000. Additionally, he will fill a display case in the school’s media center with space artifacts, including the space glove worn by the first Asian Cosmonaut.

    His quest for knowledge about space and science began at a very young age. “As a kid, I was in every single science fair, from public school on up. And I won every single science fair as well,” said Newman, who became the kiddie co-host of “Earth Lab,” a Boston-based TV show at the age of 13. Now, the 48-year-old says he wants to bring his passion for science to children and help out the strapped-for-cash school district.

    “The schools’ hands are so tied budget wise. They don’t have the funding. And the hands-on experiments wouldn’t happen if individuals and companies didn’t step up to bat,” he said.
Newman said that he hopes his donations of science equipment will make the subject more appealing to students and, perhaps, start a few students down the road to a career in science.

   “Before the school didn’t even have one Geiger counter. Now, they have 40, and it changes everything. The kids can bring them home and do all kinds of research projects on radioactivity. They can even get their families involved. It changes the way the whole science department is handled,” said Newman, who describes himself as a kid at heart. “In science there’s always something useful for life, and it may give some of the students a career in the future.”

   Allen Rice, assistant principal at West Boca Community High School, says the generous donation will allow the kids to participate in scientific experiments and see some of what they’ve learned in text books put into action.

   “It gives the teens a chance to experiment in the field of physical science. Not every day do they get to experience this,” said Rice. “We want to encourage the students to develop an interest in engineering, the sciences, aerospace and math. At this age they’re so impressionable and looking for something to shape them. Seeing a moon rock or space uniform peaks their interest and they may decide to move into those fields.”

   West Boca High would go without supplementary resources if it weren’t for Newman’s generosity, Rice said. “There was no way we could have afforded over $30, 000 worth of Geigers. Schools don’t get a lot of funding,” said Rice, “He’s a very generous guy who has had a passion for science ever since he was in high school. But the neat thing is that he’s willing to share with others. It’s kind of unique that he has a lot of enthusiasm for the sciences and aerospace.”

    For more information about Newman’s space collection and science centers visit

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