PTA gets wheels turning

Published 9:01 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2014

If the main objective of education is to help prepare youngsters for their future careers and to be productive members of society, then events such as Tuesday’s Family Engineering Night at Hillpoint Elementary School are essential to well-rounded schooling.

Thanks to the Parent-Teacher Association and funding from the Suffolk Education Foundation, students at Hillpoint recently experienced engineering concepts at work in real life. Students stacked washers onto a length of paper supported by two plastic cups, for example, to explore the principles engineers use to build strong bridges.

All told, the event attracted about 260 people, including students and their parents.

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As the parent of any elementary school-aged child can attest, it’s not too early for their children to be thinking about their future careers. Most children have already come up with an answer — which could vary from week to week — to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Those answers usually correspond to public servants — firefighters, police officers, teachers, nurses and the like — that most children encounter frequently, or might also correspond to a special interest the child has. Less visible to children, however, are careers like engineers and mathematicians, and an interest in these fields can be difficult to cultivate without knowledge of how the subject matter gets put into action in the real world.

The PTA and the Suffolk Education Foundation should be commended for aiming to expose the children at Hillpoint to as wide a range of activities as possible, including this week’s engineering night.