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PMSA Students Dedicate Innovation Lab to Science Teacher and Robotics Founder

Building robots, planting trees, pushing, inspiring, and motivating, those are just a few of the things for which PMSA physics teacher Tom Dix will be remembered. On Monday, October 26th PMSA administrators and students dedicated the school’s Science Innovation Lab to Mr. Dix, in memoriam, so that his legacy will live on at PMSA for years to come.

“This is our chance to celebrate Tom’s impact on all of us,” said PMSA Principal Ed Moyer. “It’s also an opportunity for the Robotics Team to share the wonder that was his life. He turned this place into a true innovation lab. And he had a profound impact on all of us.”

A resident of Oak Park, Mr. Dix, 39, died Thursday, Sept. 17 after a hard fought battle with melanoma. He’d been a dedicated teacher and an essential part of the PMSA family since 2006. He was a master at science and founded the school’s award-winning Robotics Team.  The innovation lab is the place where students turned parts into masterpieces and dreams into reality.

During the dedication, the fifth floor of PMSA was filled with students, local officials, parents, and fellow teachers, who came to honor Dix’s service and devotion to education.

“The dedication to Tom Dix was so important to our students here,” said PTHS 209 Superintendent Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart. “He was tightly woven into the fabric of this school and our school district. He was an extremely dedicated and hardworking teacher. He taught our students and our staff a great deal.”

Students also held a memorial earlier in the day for Dix. One student read two poems during the memorial. PMSA senior Jonathan Goodwin of Maywood says Dix was more that just a teacher to him.

“Mr. Dix was really the man in my life,” said Goodwin, who hopes to become an environmental engineer. “I went to him for advice. He told me things to help me get through class, and he inspired me to pursue my dreams. He was one of those guys I expected to always be around when no one else was there.”

Other students shared similar sentiments throughout the evening. They also prepared a video dedication.

“I’m amazed by how many lives he touched,” said PMSA senior and Robotics Team Member Sean Asaro. “He was definitely a role model for me.”

The Robotics Team decorated the innovation lab with photos of Dix. His mother, Marti Matthews, was there to thank the students for bringing so much happiness to her son’s life.

PMSA’s fifth floor lab is now the Thomas Dix Memorial Innovation Lab.

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