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Catholic Schools Week kicks off

January 27, 2009|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN -- Catholic Schools Week and snow seem to go hand in hand.

So it was no surprise to Dolly Keller, secretary at St. Mary School, that snow was forecast for this week.

Saturday was the kickoff of Catholic Schools Week, a celebration that will continue through Friday. Apparently, snow will once again affect the schedule.

A pancake breakfast, book fair and daylong schedule of basketball games were held Saturday. Students were encouraged to wear their school uniforms to Mass on Sunday and some students spoke about St. Mary School at local Catholic churches.

Prospective students and their families are invited to an open house and tours throughout the week.

Each day of the school week had a different theme.

Monday was Career Day, followed by a dignitaries luncheon. Tuesday was Volunteer Appreciation Day; today is Student Appreciation Day; Thursday is Grandparent Day; and Friday is Teacher Appreciation Day.

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Career Day featured adult volunteers, mostly parents, rotating among several classrooms to discuss their jobs. Students in kindergarten through second grade heard from a U.S. Army sergeant, an artisan chef, a Web designer, a satellite teleport engineer and a flatbed truck driver.

Third-, fourth- and fifth-graders learned from an emergency room nurse, an environmental engineer specializing in aquaculture, a pulmonologist, a retired U.S. Marine/information technology systems developer and a forensic fingerprint examiner.

A SWAT team leader, a computer business operator, a U.S. Army biochemist and a credit-card fraud worker talked to middle-schoolers.

The students had a range of questions, demonstrating curiosity about the many career options.

"Do you assist in surgery?"

"Do you ever get to see guts hanging out?"

"What do fish eat?"

"What happens when you have asthma?"

Fifth-grader Colin Sappenfield, 10, said he doesn't know what he wants to do for a living, but he likes math and science, which is necessary for most of the careers he heard about.

"I think it's really fun," Colin said of Career Day.

Yusra Ahmed, 10, couldn't help hiding her face in the back of the room as her father, Dr. Kalid Ahmed, spoke about being a pulmonologist.

"It's embarrassing," she said.

Dr. Steven Summerfelt, an environmental engineer, advised the students that they can choose careers that will give back to society and that they have the potential to make the world a better place.

"We need young minds that like science and math that can help us use our resources wisely," Summerfelt said.

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