Allegany Magazine’s Most Fascinating People of 2020
Trust the Science
In the time we're living through, couldn't we all use a reason to just smile and feel good about future generations? To believe in and to trust science?
One only need to look into the hopeful eyes of any young elementary school aged student going to school to see the resilience and optimism and hope. And for Allegany Magazine, this year, no one personified those characteristics than Jake Klein.
Jake is 10 years old and is a fifth grader now at Beall Elementary School in Frostburg. This smart young man didn’t let the fact that his lab at school was closed and he had to stay at home and participate in remote learning keep him from loving science and so he started his own science video blog to share with others what he was learning from home.
“I wanted to make people happy when they had to stay inside,” Jake says. “It was a scary time when it started.”
In May, Jake’s mother, Terry Klein brought him to our attention. She sent us one of his videos and asked us if we would be interested in posting them – just for fun. At the time, we had asked our readers to send us “feel good” stories – photos and stories or how each of you were keeping busy while “Safer at Home.”
When we posted the first video to our social media pages, we were inundated with comments and requests to showcase Jake. We encouraged him to keep the videos coming and from May and well into the fall of 2020, Jake Klein became our “Junior Science Correspondent,” giving us one video per week – each one was a quick review – lasting only a minute or two and contained not only a lesson in science but also with and wisdom that come only come from an expert a decade old. In his productions, he poured disappearing liquid over his mother’s head, made Mentos explode in a bottle, change solids to liquids and even walked on a dozen eggs without cracking or breaking a single shell. All the videos were based in applied science, biology and physics.
“People were really excited when the videos started to go up,” says Jake. “They encouraged me to do more. Friends and family sent ideas!”
His mother, Terry says Jake has always been scientifically inclined.
“He has been making bathtub potions since he was very small. I learned early on to put my good shampoo out of reach!” she says. She often volunteered to be his “assistant” in many of the videos he produced. “His videos definitely keep me on my toes! We research and find experiments. I am a director, editor, a willing assistant and I’m always on clean up duty.”
And Mom didn’t allow his local “celebrity status” to go to his head. She kept him focused on his education while learning from home this year.
“Jake is a very good student. He does great with school and assignments. He is sometimes a little slow to get going in the morning,” she says. “And he has several chores. His least favorite is cleaning up his room.”
And while he aspires to one day become an actual scientist with his own television program on the Discovery Network (his brother – 18 years his senior works there), for right now, Jake Klein is content to be a regular everyday kid. His favorite food is pizza. His favorite past time is video games and his favorite color is blue. But behind his love for science is a seriousness. He says the single most important cause of his generation could be finding a cure for cancer. Jake lost his father to the disease in November, 2019.
“My Daddy passed away when I was nine. I hate cancer,” he says. “We need to discover a cure for that so other kids don’t have to lose their Mom or Dad.”
We sure could use more Jake Kleins right now.
Editor’s Note: Jake’s videos continued to be a hit with our social media followers. We have posted nearly 15 to our Facebook page. The entire season remains up if you would like to take a look. Not only did this effort land him almost immediately as a contender for a ‘Fascinating Person’, it landed him our cover in a special photo shoot we did with him inside Mountain Ridge High School.
Special Thanks to Mountain Ridge High School, Allegany County Public Schools, Danny Carter, and Mia Cross.