Kate Sturiano, a nurse practioner, shows third-grader Will Ohnmacht how to listen to the heart using a stethoscope during Rodgers Forge Elementary School's Career Day.
Kate Sturiano, a nurse practioner, shows third-grader Will Ohnmacht how to listen to the heart using a stethoscope during Rodgers Forge Elementary School's Career Day. (Submitted photo)

Last week was a big week for students at Rodgers Forge Elementary School (RFES).

On Tuesday, May 28, 286 students were recognized for their participation in the Patriots and Defenders program. Organized by Katie Lark, 5th grade teacher, the program teaches children about American history and their rights and responsibilities within our democratic society.


Parent and teacher volunteers worked together to listen to students recite the requirements for each grade level. Many special guests were present to recognize the students' hard work including: Senator Jim Brochin, Councilman David Marks, Joy Hare from the Carter Baxton Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, and Principal Sue Harris of Dumbarton Middle School. Students in 4th and 5th grade recognized as Patriots or Defenders will visit the Flaghouse in Baltimore.

Patriots: AJ Preller, Anna Keefer, Anna Krull, Annie Zhou, Audrey Dinsmore, Caitlin O'Neill, Cal Broseker, Cicely Kotarides, Claire Shi, Drew Carlino, Emile Lane, Emily Snyder, Grace Livezey, Gracie Murdoch, Harrison Themak, Liam Brune, Lindsey Lark, Lioness Wright, Max Blinkoff, Noah Webb, Nora Sevidal, Norah Heacock, Sophia Litueva, and Stella VonKessler.

Defenders: Ashton Fry, Audrey Russell, Bella Erhardt, Colin Freas, Emily Davis, Emma Lohr, Gabi Arango, Ian Tucker, Jane Kastner, Liam Emmons, Lydia Hamilton, Natalie Gimignani, Natalie Russell, Olivia Osgood, Riley Crabtree, Rory Harmon, Victoria Schofield, and Will Schwab.

And as though the Patriots and Defenders program assembly weren't enough, on May 28, RFES sponsored Career Day. Can you recall what you dreamed of becoming when you grew up? I wanted to be a veterinarian-chef-astronaut-dolphin trainer-forensic scientist. All at the same time. I am none of those things. But I love my career in healthcare IT as much as if I'd made my choice back in kindergarten. And hopefully, even if you didn't become a professional baseball player-famous singer-ballerina-elephant tamer, you're still doing something you enjoy just as much. If not, you would have benefitted greatly from Career Day.

Thirty-seven presenters filled the classrooms to share their areas of expertise and skill in their respective industries. Parents, grandparents, community members, and RFES faculty and staff talked with the children about their careers, answered questions, and provided hands on learning opportunities to simplify complicated information such as how brains work and how science helps our environment.

Presenters included John Blake, chef; Jeremy Bell, U.S. Coast Guard helicopter pilot; Jorma Auburn, video game animator; Jason Schultz, lawyer; our very own Baltimore County Police Department's Officer Brown, who is posted at Dumbarton Middle School; as well as many medical professionals, various scientists, veterinarians, and other fantastic professions.

All students participated in two rotations to learn about two different fields of work; however, 4th and 5th grade students were able to self-select two careers of interest based on guidance lessons conducted by school counselor, Georgianne Lelonek. Career Day is a smart way for children to gain exposure to careers they might never otherwise knew existed.

As always, if you have something good to yell from the rooftops, feel free to email me.