By MORGAN MANNS
Longfellow Elementary School is continuing its efforts to lead Fostoria’s little leaders.
The school hosted a Future Leaders Day, inviting officials and employees from various area businesses to come into the building to speak to students about their respective professions.
“Our hope is to show students that there are opportunities for careers right here in Fostoria,” Principal Kelli Bauman said.
This is the third annual event Longfellow Elementary School has hosted in an effort to enhance the school and community connection by bringing local businesses and stakeholders into the school while also fostering leadership in students.
Longfellow’s community engagement team had the idea to host the event two years ago, reaching out to area businesses to see if there was an interest from them.
“The students get to learn about careers and jobs and the community leaders get to see the wonderful staff and students of Fostoria City Schools and Longfellow. It truly is a win-win for all those involved,” Bauman said.
Both kindergarten and preschool classes traveled from room to room throughout the building to learn about the various opportunities available to them.
Most participating groups had an activity for the students to take part in to help them learn about the job through a hands-on experience in the 30-minute sessions.
Andrea Fuller and Marcia Kunkelman, RNs at ProMedica Fostoria Community Hospital, had devices on hand to check students’ heartbeats, heart rates, temperatures and oxygen levels. They allowed students to listen to their own heartbeats or heartbeats of their peers while getting their temperature checked.
“We wanted to represent nursing and let the kids know it’s out there,” Kunkelman said.
“And not to be scared when they visit,” Fuller added. “A lot of kids come in and they’re scared to be there or to see us. We don’t want them to be fearful so we let them see what we use and listen to each other’s lungs.”
After showing the students how the various devices worked, they then gave students materials to create their very own paper nurse’s bag. They glued a medical symbol on the front of the bag before cutting out images of stethoscopes, thermometers, a reflex hammer, a needle and more. They then placed the images, along with cotton balls, bandaids and tongue depressors, into their bags to take home.
“When I get home, I’m going to check my daddy and see how good he’s doing,” Aubree Sampson, 5, said, smiling, as she packed the picture of a stethoscope into her paper nurse’s bag.
Learning was also taking place with Staci Reiter, who creates her own jewelry. She shared with students how she began crafting with floral arrangements and soon took up a love for making and selling her own bracelets, necklaces and earrings out of multiple different materials.
Students then had the opportunity to create their own bracelet out of stretch cords and beads.
With a preschool-aged son, Reiter said she enjoys being actively involved in children’s lives and shaping the future of Fostoria’s children.
“My goal was to teach pattern placement and letter recognition,” she said, referring to the creation of their own bracelets using their own creativity and the spelling of their names. “I wanted to show them they can still learn while doing something enjoyable. It’s never too late to learn something new.”
Meanwhile, other students were learning about fun alternative ways to exercise. Trisha Roddy, instructor with Z Pulse, had students participate in a little cardio drumming — using drum sticks to hit a ball at the rhythm of a song while engaging the body’s muscles in various moves, such as squats, punches, lunges, twists, turns and more.
“I wanted to expose more kids to exercise and what’s out there to stay active,” Roddy said Monday. “Exercising isn’t just running. There’s other fun ways to exercise.”
A pharmacy student, Roddy said she made a point to mention to the youngsters how she’s taking classes while also doing what she likes to do as an instructor for Z Pulse and owner of Power Up Fostoria.
“A lot of them pay attention and follow along and they see what leaders in the community are doing,” she said. “I want them to know they can follow whatever it is they want to do.”
As some students were working up a sweat, others were enjoying a frozen snack.
Bill Reineck, owner of JB Twisters, set up shop with day shift manager Melanie Meddles, talked to students about the shop and what it offers.
“We want to engage in the schools as much as we can,” he said. “Anything we can do to get into the schools and interact with the students is what we enjoy doing. It’s a way of giving back to the community.”
With nearly 30 years in the business and almost 50 years living in Fostoria, Reineck said he hopes he, and Meddles, were able to teach the children a little bit about how businesses operate and what it takes to be an employee.
Another sweet treat was enjoyed as students learned about Fostoria’s Dairy Queen. Co-owner Alicia Wolph-Roshong brought handmade Dilly Bars from the other local ice cream shop and shared with students about the history of the store in her family and what all they have to offer.
Other businesses and organizations in attendance included Fostoria Fire Division, Fostoria Police Division, Kaubisch Memorial Public Library, First American Loan, Reineke Ford Dealerships, Mennel Milling Co., Kroger and the Geary Family YMCA.
Students also had the opportunity to learn about tennis from professional referee Scott Elbin; painting from Dennis Brant; and gardening from student teachers.
“We truly appreciate all those who gave up their time to come share their career, skill or hobby with our students,” Bauman said. “It takes a village to cultivate a small child into a successful citizen and it is a wonderful opportunity to come together with our staff and the businesses and leaders of Fostoria for our littlest leaders and learners.”