Palo Verde anatomy class receives donation of skeleton



"May you get a job in science and technology with a boss so awesome that when he passes away, eight years later you get choked up just by seeing his photo."

You could hear the emotion in his voice as Rincon Rotary LOCAL chair James Mandolini spoke to Patricia Wheeler's anatomy class at Palo Verde High Magnet School. Mandolini is a technology support specialist at a local radiology website by day, and he truly enjoys both of his roles in the Tucson community. So when he was able to connect those two roles in order to help out Palo Verde, it was a perfect fit.

Thanks to Dr. Phillip Berman, Mandolini's former boss at the radiology website, Rincon Rotary LOCAL was able to answer Ms. Wheeler's request for a skeleton model.

In fact, Phillip's model was an actual human skeleton – a piece far more valuable than a plastic model.

"This is medical school quality," explained Judy Berman, Phillip's wife. "This was in his office. He looked at the bones while he looked at the film."

Judy was on hand for the dedication of the skeleton to Ms. Wheeler's class. She shared her family's story with the Palo Verde students, including Phillip's lung cancer diagnosis. When diagnosed, Phillip was given three months to live. He lived on for five more years before finally passing away.

"His whole life was basically about being a doctor and providing good healthcare," Judy said. "I'm very grateful you will all have a piece of Phillip's legacy."

Ms. Wheeler was thrilled that the skeleton already had markings for certain body parts, such as where muscles connect. She wasted no time, diving right into a lesson about the stomach and pelvic region.

"It's going to be huge when we study muscle systems," Ms. Wheeler exclaimed. "I'm so excited."

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