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Hempstead teacher 5th in contest

Ralph Johnson

Ralph Johnson

The furniture retailer Ikea has updated its profile of Ralph Johnson, of Hempstead Village, who is competing to win a $100,000 sabbatical so he can spend more time teaching children about science.

The Life Improvement Project sabbatical is sponsored by Ikea, which has a store in Hicksville.

According to Ikea’s tally on Wednesday, Johnson is still in fifth place in the competition. Votes are cast online.

Johnson is a U.S Customs and Border Protection agricultural specialist at Kennedy Airport in Queens, Ikea says.

He teaches science to schoolchildren by bringing them to the Customs lab at JFK and showing them what he does there.

Check out his video describing his proposal on "Reaching Young Minds Through Science."

The online Ikea contest profile of Johnson says he "has been bringing the wonders of science to at-risk high school and middle school students for nearly two decades, exposing them to programs in agricultural science, medical investigation, forensics, and science research."

The profile continues:
"Ralph's educational and mentoring efforts have changed more than 800 teens' lives. With funding, Ralph will expand the program to reach nearly three times the amount of students in New York communities."

A representative of Ikea said the program is "designed to educate, inspire and empower people to improve their lives at home and the lives of others in their community"

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