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Chesapeake College Marks Take Your Child to Work Day

Posted on Monday, April 25, 2005

Hannah Wood, a third-grade student at Sandy Hill Elementary School in Cambridge, gets some assistance from Chris White-Eagle 

WYE MILLS – It’s not surprising that Chesapeake College President Stuart M. Bounds wanted Take Your Child to Work Day to evolve into a broad-based learning experience.

"I just saw Take Your Child to Work Day as a unique learning opportunity for the children of our employees," said Dr. Bounds, who directed college staff to develop a structured, full-day program for the children of employees who wanted to participate in the event.

The results exceeded Dr. Bounds’ expectations for the pilot project. Eighteen children of Chesapeake College employees participated with their parents in Thursday’s program, and both parents and children indicated it was a valuable experience.

"I love Chesapeake College! I got to do a lot of different things and I made some new friends," said Devan Bowser, a 10-year-old Garnett Elementary School student whose mother, Dana, is the college’s director of multicultural affairs. "It was cool," said Ryan Earls, a 12-year-old Stevensville Middle School student whose stepmother, Linda Earls, is an assistant professor of English at the college. "We met a lot of nice people and we got to play basketball (in the free-throwing shooting contest for all program participants)."

Latonia Butler-Clark, a business office and grant assistant at the college, said she thought one important feature of the program was the emphasis on college preparation.

"The kids saw what they need to do to get ready for college, including the importance of studying hard and getting good grades," said Butler-Clark, whose son, Marlon, participated in the event. "It really emphasized that the kids need to give their all in school to get the career they want rather than settle for a job you need."

Dr. Bounds opened the program by welcoming the students to the college, and he also hosted the parents and their children at lunch. The luncheon, which took place in the college’s Board Room, included the opportunity for the children and their parents to have their picture taken with the president.

The program included a campus tour, a technology-enhanced presentation by the parents explaining their jobs at the college, and a variety of workshops. Among the workshops were opportunities to sit in on a college class, attend a leadership seminar, obtain an overview of the college’s intercollegiate athletic program, and a discussion on the importance of preparing for college.

Linda Earls, who had a student group visit one of her English classes, said that activity was a great experience for everyone involved.

"It was a wonderful, cooperative experience," she said. "My students were excited to share what they know, and the experience seemed to excite the kids about college. They worked on a classroom assignment with the Oxford Dictionary, researching a word to see where it originated and then conducting an Internet search to see how usage of the word has changed over time."

The students also spent a two-hour block of the day in a job-shadowing experience with their parent.

"I wanted the children to learn as much as they could about what their parents do at the college, and also gain a more in-depth knowledge of how the college operates," said Dr. Bounds.

The day concluded with a hands-on project in which the students developed a written report about their activities, assisted by staff of the college’s Academic Support Center.

"Our goal was to make the day fun and educational, and I think we succeeded on both counts," said B.J. Mills, chair of the college’s Staff Assembly Representatives (StARS) and co-developer of the program with Dr. Richard Midcap, Chesapeake’s vice president for student success.

Dr. Midcap said it took the contributions of a sizable segment of the college community to make the event a success. Admissions Director Kathy Petrichenko, Student Activities Director Amy Childs, Athletics Director Frank Szymanski, and the parents of the children who participated all played key roles.

"This event could not have been staged without college-wide participation," said Dr. Midcap.

Dr. Bounds said the college expects to make this an annual event.

"I’m very pleased with the program we were able to provide," said Dr. Bounds. "We really enjoyed having the students on our campus, and I think the concept of a structured, day-long learning opportunity proved to be very successful."

Photo info: Hannah Wood, a third-grade student at Sandy Hill Elementary School in Cambridge, gets some assistance from Chris White -Eagle during a Chesapeake College English class on "Take Your Child to Work Day" Thursday. Hannah is the daughter of Chesapeake employee Bridget Wood.


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