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Young kids learn lessons for life

What do you need?

What do you want?

A new pet?

A pair of skates?

A video game?

What about food, clothes or a high school diploma?

Those were a few of the questions posed to first-grade students by some high school leaders during Junior Achievement Day last week at Hudson Elementary School.

It was certainly food for thought for some gap-toothed youngsters, a few who really had to wrestle with the video game dilemma.

But Taylor Goin, 6, already had the answers down pat.

"I don't need an X-Box or a cat or skates," Taylor said. "I need food, a house and clothes."

And that diploma. Otherwise, how are you going to get a job to pay for that house, those clothes and, yes, maybe even that X-Box?

Come to think of it, what do you want to be when you grow up?

"A tattoo artist like my dad," said Cohen Harvey, 6.

"A veterinarian," answered Nikki Baker, 6, who was busy drawing a dog "being sick."

"I want to build houses," said Brandon Derosiers, 6.

"Our Families" is the name of the Junior Achievement classroom activity that was offered to Hudson Elementary kindergarten and first-grade students last week. The three-hour activity was led by some 30 Hudson High students who had volunteered through various school organizations. It's one of six Junior Activity programs the organization offers to get elementary students and, perhaps, their high school mentors, thinking about the community, their future and the part they might play in it.

With the help of high school students like Sierra Teegarden, 16, Sandra Oliver, 16, Tanner Booth, 17, Hannah Franco, 17, and Michael Feeney, 17, the younger students explored who and what makes up a family, what different family members do to help their family and talk about their families' wants and needs. "They learn the importance of working together and find that there are other rewards besides money," said Hudson Elementary parent and volunteer coordinator Mary Whitehead.

The subject matter might seem heady for a classroom of kids who typically like to color with crayons and wear construction paper hats covered with the week's vocabulary words written on them.

But the kids seem to get it — especially when they get to use those crayons to draw pictures of a possible career or fill in a hand-out book with colorful stickers.

It's fun," said future tattoo artist Cohen Harvey, before offering up a little of what he had learned. "I know what a business is. It's where people work."

Then there's the win-win appeal of having high school mentors leading the lessons.

"They're doing a great job," said first-grade teacher, Emily Thoms of the high school presentation. "And the kids are responding well to them."

"It's great," said Hudson senior Michael Feeney, who donned suit and tie so he could offer a professional appearance for the event and put his school in a good light. "Some might get an idea of what being a teacher might be like if you want to do that. It's a very good learning experience for us — just interacting and seeing what the kids have to say. We learn from the kids as much as they learn from us."

On the Web

For information about Junior Achievement programs, go to japasco.org.

Young kids learn lessons for life 11/02/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 10:37am]
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