La Cañada Elementary School PTA Founder's Day Spotlights Parent Volunteer Art Chmielewski

Published : Thursday, March 13, 2014 | 8:18 PM

La Cañada Elementary School PTA Founder’s Day final spotlight is on parent volunteer, Art Chmielewski. Art tells everyone that the name sounds bizarre, but in Poland it is a household name. His father, Henryk Chmielewski, is a famous Polish children’s cartoonist. Being a funny guy, he decided to name him with two English names: Arthur Bartholomew so that his initials would be:

“A.B.C.” People still call him: ABC. For the last three years, Dr. ABC, as kids call him, has been running many science programs at LCE. They first became known as Science Fridays. His goal was simple: make science fun and hands on. It is important to him that kids do their own experiments, mix, explode, push, pull, and break things. In the age of multiple-choice tests, he feels that kids don’t do enough fun experiments. In his Science Fridays, he made models of aliens who live on different types of planets, big, small, gaseous, and solid; students operated a model of a Mars rover; they built comets and even exploded trashcans.

When his mission to the comet Rosetta was flying by an asteroid, he had a fun event at JPL where students observed pictures of the asteroid live from the spacecraft.

Last year, Art and LCE students got a little more serious with 5th and 6th grade science projects. They worked on their projects for several months and dug a little deeper into the science of soccer, baseball, crickets, and burning gasoline, while waiting in line at In-N-Out. Art’s advice: “Don’t double your Double-Double.” The students designed their experiments, made their hypothesis, collected data, analyzed them and presented their results on stage at the JPL auditorium.

This year there is a huge event – the first ever landing on a comet. Again Art will enable the students to see the live images as the Rosetta spacecraft approaches the comet. They will make predictions of what the comet surface looks like and what it is made out of. LCE kids will witness first-hand Nobel Prize science being made right in front of them, and maybe someday they will win the prize themselves. That would make Art ecstatic, especially because he claims that he snuck a clause into the “Parental Liability Release Form” that 33% of our student’s future Nobel Prize proceeds will go to
Dr. ABC.

Art is very honored and privileged to be able to work with LCE kids and he appreciates the support of the Principal, its LCE fabulous teachers, and the hard-working PTA which has made these programs possible.

La Cañada Elementary School, 4540 Encinas Drive, La Cañada, (818) 952-8350 or visit

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