Students learn the importance of jobs through a Junior Achievement volunteer.
With 11 years to go, Sunset Hill first-graders are already talking about graduation.
Many have plans to go to college, followed by careers in the arts, teaching, zoology, and, not surprisingly, the National Basketball Assn.
While some of the goals may seem bigger than life, students are learning what it will take to achieve them.
``They amaze you,'' Kmart Distribution Center general manager Ken Swager said. ``We're trying to tie all of it to learning; that you have to go through 12 years of school to get a high school diploma, and you need a diploma to continue on with more school or get a job.''
Swager is a volunteer with the Junior Achievement program. Junior Achievement provides business role models for school-based learning activities. The business leaders teach the realities of business and help students understand their role in the community.
``They get a better understanding of how families function and work together,'' Swager said. ``The jobs that family members do (can) provide needs and wants.''
Swager had students draw a picture of themselves or family members working.
``Hopefully, we'll be able to teach the children to participate in the community,'' Swager said.
The Junior Achievement program bridges the gap between business and schools, Sunset Hill teacher Sandy Everhart said.
``It kind of reaffirms my belief that schools aren't just an isolated part of the community,'' Everhart said. ``People from the business community can contribute.''
Everhart's students used maps to chart locations of local businesses and service organizations that satisfy consumers' needs and wants.
``We made a map of places you go,'' student Isaac Flynn said. ``Some are needs and some are wants.''
Isaac said having Swager as a guest teacher has been interesting.
``We get to do fun things with him,'' he said. ``We learned that families should always be nice to each other and stuff.''
More than 125 business role models have worked in 170 Lawrence classrooms this year.
-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.