The Neshaminy School District announced this past week one of its esteemed high school teachers is in the running as a finalist in a national contest with a $100,000 grand prize.

Environmental Science teacher Mr. James Maloney is the only educator from Pennsylvania to earn the position as a finalist among fourteen of his peers from around the country in the Farmers Insurance Dream Big $100,000 educational grant competition. This is his eleventh year as part of the school located in Langhorne.

Maloney was chosen in part for his idea of a “living classroom.” Students would gather all of their own supplies to grow plants, especially vegetables, and sell them to the residents of Langhorne. The process would teach students responsibility and allow them to dip their toes into entrepreneurship.

However, Maloney says “we” earned the nomination because he is working with Special Education teacher Ms. Jackie Ripper to bring together AP science students and learning needs students on this project.

“I cannot take full credit for this,” Maloney said. “I think we’re really deserving of this because we’re partnering two different population of the school that usually would not collaborate. When my students cover agriculture and the development of plants, her students can cover the same concepts.”

“Maloney exemplifies what teaching is all about – lifting their students up to the best that they can be,” said Tu-Han Phan, managing lead of Thank America’s Teachers for Farmers. “I urge the Langhorne community, the state of Pennsylvania, and the entire nation to vote to help bring the living classroom into Neshaminy High School and make Maloney’s big dream a reality.”

Voting for the annual competition began October 4th and goes until November 3rd. The fifteen proposals can be viewed and voted on once per day per person on the contest’s website at ThankAmericasTeachers.com. The top five proposals with the most votes will receive $100,000 towards the project and the school.