Kids experience life after school during ‘Students Go To Work Day’

by John Connolly

Sixth-five fifth grade students from Pennsbury’s Makefield Elementary School got to participate in the annual “Students Go To Work Day” on June 1st. The kids were split into small groups and could choose from 27 different work experiences in the Yardley-Morrisville-Fairless Hills area.

The wide range of options allowed the kids to explore possible career choices as they did their own version of “take your sons and daughters to work” day. The goal, says Donna Merriman, technology associate at the school and the program’s director, is to show the kids that no matter what role you choose in society, each one is just as important as any other.

It’s also an opportunity for kids to consider a variety of careers they might one day want to pursue.

“The program is designed to give students the opportunity for first-hand experiences at various career fields in the area and link our classroom learning with the workplace,” she said. “Each business provides students with a unique work experience, with the kids spending several hours at the businesses stocking shelves, taking orders, and just sampling life beyond the classroom.”

For example, a visit to Shady Brook Farm in Yardley allowed students to participate in the work that goes towards raising the food required to feed people. The kids were first shown the finer points of making ice cream, then got to sample their favorite flavors.

They were then given a tractor ride out to the fields where they learned how strawberries were grown and picked – “white not ripe, redder the better” – which the kids repeated as they went about filling their cartons.

“Wow, found the jackpot,” said fifth grader T.J. Stevens, as he located an entire grouping of deep red strawberries. “Look at all of these red ones.”

After picking, the group was then given the task of helping farm workers with ‘netting the plants,’ where protective netting is placed around the various fields in use so that animals like deer and geese don’t swoop in and feast on the farmer’s hard work.

Meanwhile, in Fairless Hills, another group of students visited Flowers By Jennie-Lynn. Ever gazed at a beautiful floral arrangement and wanted to learn how to throw one together?

Makefield students Naya Schubert and Ella Sayers learned just that. The floral shop gave the girls flower arranging lessons and demonstrated tricks and styling shortcuts. The girls learned how to make corsages, centerpieces and bouquet vases from store employees Ally Moyer and Emily Towne.

Ally and Emily showed the pair that working with flowers can be extremely challenging and require an artistic eye.

“I think I’d like this job when I’m teenager,” said Naya. “But not right now.”

Ella admitted she got her love of flowers from working in the garden with her mother after school and on weekends. What she really liked about her experience, though, was putting the glitter on the corsages she and Naya made together during their visit.

Overall, the kids came away from these experiences enthusiastic and full of inspiration on how to respond to the eternal question, ‘what do I want to be when I grow up.’

“It’s really a tremendous opportunity because these kids are our future this is a chance for us to connect with the community and for the people who work here to show what they do,” Merriman said.

The program started with just 12 students and has continued to grow each year since 1998.

PHOTO CAP: From left, T.J. Stevens, Logan Betz, Tommy France, and Quinn Catalano picked strawberries at Shady Brook Farm.