Tonganoxie school district starts parent career survey
Christopher Denny scampered up into the cab of a semi-trailer parked last Wednesday morning on the west side of Tonganoxie Elementary School.
He pressed his hand against the horn. The blast elicited giggles from his fellow third-graders, standing below him, waiting their turn.
Once back on the school grounds, Christopher described the experience.
"It was wow," he said.
As three classrooms of third-graders ascended, one by one, into the cab, parent Mark Ramdorsingh chatted with the youngsters about his job as a driver for CBC Express, a Lawrence-based trucking firm.
Ramdorsingh explained that he didn't actually drive the particular truck he had brought to show off to the children.
This truck is special, he told the children, because it accompanies the Kansas University football team on all of their games away from Memorial Stadium.
Ramdorsingh's boss, Cliff Churchill, donated the truck to KU and he drives the rig to all of the out-of-town games. It's loaded with a variety of equipment players and coaches need on the road, from headsets to uniforms.
"It's everything the football team needs to play an away game from their home stadium," he told the children. "It's always loaded. At any moment, it's always ready to go."
For 9-year-old Christopher, a KU fan, the truck sporting a giant Jayhawk and the Nike swoosh was impressive.
"It's the biggest show and tell I've ever seen," he said.
Ramdorsingh's daughter, Crystal, is a third-grader in Merrilee Cooper's class, and his stepson, Anthony Shade, also is a student at Tonganoxie Elementary.
Crystal said she was pleased her father could visit school to talk about his career, even if it meant he brought a truck emblazoned with Jayhawks.
"I like K-State," she said. "My teacher likes KU. I wanted to impress her. I thought this would be fun for my teacher."
Encouraging parents to visit Tonganoxie schools to talk about their jobs is something Pat Walker, a counselor at Tonganoxie Elementary School, wants to see happen more often. In fact, the school district is in the midst of a parent career survey, to determine the types of jobs parents hold and whether they'd be willing to share their career experiences with students.
"I think I've gotten over 100 back so far, and 50 to 60 percent said they would be willing to come and share information," Walker said.
So far, the districtwide program hasn't been finalized.
"We're in the beginning stages of a career study for kids, not that we're going to try to push them in any direction, but let them know about the different types of jobs that are available."