Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Parents get taste of teens' lives at Freedom High PTA event

Donna McCarthy, left, and Lisa Shollenberger sit in a simulated math class at Freedom High School on Thursday night.

ATOYIA DEANS | Times

Donna McCarthy, left, and Lisa Shollenberger sit in a simulated math class at Freedom High School on Thursday night.

NEW TAMPA — Lisa Shollenberger got asked out on a date Thursday night.

She also failed a Spanish test, but aced an English quiz and joined a clique.

Not too bad for a 42-year-old.

Shollenberger was among about 100 parents who drifted back to "school" during an event that earned the PTA at Freedom High a coveted national award and a little cash to boot.

The National PTA holds a contest each year for unique "Take Your Family to School" events. This year 405 schools nationwide submitted ideas, of which 32 were awarded a prize.

Only three of them were high schools, including Freedom, which was also the only school to win in Hillsborough County.

The idea? To put parents in their teens' shoes.

On Thursday, parents attended classes, rushed to beat the tardy bell, participated in lessons and took tests — all to gain a glimpse into their children's hectic and sometimes stressful lives.

"In the PTA world, this is huge," Melissa Erickson, president of the Hillsborough County PTA, said of the award.

"Parental involvement tends to drop off as the grades go higher," she said, adding that the event was a way to get parents more involved.

Freedom High School PTA received a check in the amount of $1,897. The amount signified the year National PTA was founded.

The idea to hold a boot camp for parents came to Freedom's PTA president, Donna Moffatt, who recalled sitting in her son's AP human geography class during a conference night four years ago. She was surprised by how much he was learning.

"You hear parents talk all the time about how much work their kids have to do," she said. But parents rarely talk about the content of their kids' education, she said.

So she sat down and devised a plan to show them exactly what their children were learning.

Thursday, during a brief awards ceremony in the media center before "school" started, Hillsborough County School Board member Jack Lamb urged the parents to pay attention in class because they would be given quizzes.

Bruce Moffatt, whose son is a freshman, joked that he had the answers written in the palm of his left hand.

Mirian Smith, whose daughter is a sophomore, giggled: "Text me with the answers."

"We're going to get sent to the principal's office," he said.

PTA members passed out backpacks filled with supplies and handed each parent a class schedule listing four 20-minute classes. They had six minutes between periods. Each class had about 15 students.

In English class, assistant principal Rosemary Owens quizzed them on nouns. In foreign language, assistant principal Marisa Carmody gave them a test on the Spanish alphabet. In world history, teacher Chris Alexander gave a lecture on supply and demand.

Parents laughed nervously as instructors called on them to answer questions about subjects they had learned decades ago.

"This is reminding me of how much I don't remember," said Chris Slater, a 1979 high school graduate whose son is a senior.

Smith, who graduated high school 25 years ago, said the event was helpful.

"I feel like I know my daughter better," she said. "My daughter doesn't tell me anything. She's a teenager. This is wonderful."

As a newly formed clique congregated in the courtyard between second and third period, Jason Shollenberger turned to his wife and asked: "So you wanna go to the dance?"

Parents get taste of teens' lives at Freedom High PTA event 02/18/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 18, 2010 11:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo

    Nation

    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  2. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies

    News

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  3. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win

    Colleges

    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  4. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  5. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin

    World

    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]