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Teachers’ Children Get a Fun Taste of High School Life

The way up the stairs was long and mysterious, which made it all the more exciting for the young explorers. “This is a secret tunnel,” said Olivia Brown, who was helping to show them around Kenowa Hills High School, from which she graduated three years ago.

The secret tunnel led to the catwalk above the school Performing Arts Center. The student visitors walked in darkness above the auditorium. “This is cool!” one boy exclaimed. “It’s like an abyss!”

It was a high point, so to speak, in a day-long visit by two dozen children and grandchildren of Kenowa Hills faculty members. They came courtesy of the high school’s annual observance of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. It was a chance to see what their teacher-parents do all day and get a taste of high school life – including cups of sherbet from the kitchen’s walk-in freezer.

“I like how we can get behind the scenes and look around,” said Zachary Vedders, grandson of Deborah Dougherty, who runs the school testing center. “It’s really nice that we get to tour the whole building.”

Besides the adventurous tour, students also got a choice of activities including math and gym games, a science experiment, writing a Shakespearean letter and saying the Pledge of Allegiance over the school intercom. “Hi, Dad!” Mitchell Chrapek said at the end of the announcement, for the benefit of his father, Tim, an English teacher.

Quinton Bell gets a ride from Olivia Brown, a Kenowa Hills graduate who helped out with the tour

Seeing What Mom and Dad Do

The yearly tradition started with teachers bringing their children informally and led to a more organized event, said Principal Katie Pennington. For the young visitors, she said, it offers “great lessons in empathy and diversity. It’s really powerful.”

Counselors Dean Lazowski and Jeff Poelstra led some of the students on the tour, which included pop-ins to teachers’ classrooms. Math resource teacher Anthony Clark said he loved having his son Brayden and other youngsters in the building.

“I don’t get to do it during the school day,” Clark said. “It’s a good experience to get him at the high school level and see what Dad does on a daily basis.”

A hit for many students was spending an hour with resource teacher Spencer Vanderheide, a professional musician. After showing them the basics of musical sound with his guitar, he led them in a composing a song about their experience to the tune of “Sweet Home Alabama”: “Bring your kid to work day, where it is so cool. Our parents love us so much, at Kenowa Hills High School.”

It turned out to be a good theme song for the young tourists and their cool taste of high school.

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers Rockford and Grand Rapids. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio or email Charles.

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