Valley Stream Central High students go bananas for alum’s bio lesson


AP Biology students at Valley Stream Central High School were treated to a lesson which, could be said, held great a-peel: learning the basics of suturing by suturing on a banana. For the lesson, each student was handed their patient — a banana that was “suffering” a deep wound – and a suturing kit. Students were then tasked with sewing the fruit’s skin back together. This lesson in emergency medicine, taught by Central High alumnus and urologist in Rockland County, Dr. Richard Evans, is an established part of the student’s curriculum with Dr. Evan’s classes occurring every three weeks. 

Dr. Evans, who works as a urologist in Rockland County, has returned to Central High for roughly three years to give his lessons.

“I teach them how to read CT scans and X-rays. I give them lessons on Covid-19 and show them how to interpret lab results. I also show them how to treat trauma injuries and kidney stones, or even develop a medical app,” Dr. Evans said. In the case of his suturing lesson, he said a ripe, yellow banana is an ideal patient because its peel is similar to that of human skin.

Dr. Evans decided to provide his lessons after reflecting on how his experience at Central High School, graduating in 1976, led him to his own career path.

“I was in the first AP Biology course provided at Central, and it had a big effect on me,” he recounted. “It really propelled me towards going into medical school, and I wanted to do the same for other students there.”

After the suturing lesson, Dr. Evans noted: “The kids were so engrossed in it, and when they were done, they took pictures of their bananas and told everyone that it was the first patient of their career.” AP Patrick Tirino said Dr. Evans’ lessons have been valuable to the students. “He is a gift to us, and we are incredibly grateful for his generosity,” Tirino said.