Members of the Kean University Greek Senate recently traveled to Heywood Elementary School in Orange, New Jersey to teach young students about college life, as part of their 11th annual "Greek Senate Elementary Program" on Friday, January 27, 2017.
Children, ranging from first graders to fifth graders, asked questions about college, the work involved and the importance of education.
Alex Louis, the assistant director of the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS), sent Greek students to Heywood Elementary School on the school's career day. Parents filled the classrooms, telling the student body about their careers and goals. Equally, the Greeks who participated in this program were able to inform the many children of what college is all about, the majors the Greek students are studying and the goals they have for their prospective careers.
Greeks from Kean University found the annual experience as something to help them grow as leaders in the careers they plan to embark on. Terrance Somesla-McCornell, member of Nu Delta Pi Fraternity Incorporated, was able to take the trip to Heywood for the second time. He found this experience as a personal bookmark on the school year. As a senior history and special-education major with aspirations of teaching, this experience taught him many lessons about leadership.
"With leadership, in particular, it made me feel as if I was the teacher. The eyes of the children were beaming on me for my insight [on college], and I felt as if I was a role model to those children," Somesla-McCornell said. "This was important because us college students must strive to be better so that we can continue to positively influence these children. In turn, they would help the next generation of students and continue the cycle of inspiration."
Several different Greek organizations from Kean University and other institutions were present at this event. From Kean University's local fraternities of Nu Delta Pi and Sigma Theta Chi to the sororities of Omega Sigma Psi, Sigma Beta Chi and Delta Phi Epsilon, members of the university's Greek community were all invested in giving the students of Heywood Elementary School something to remember.
Surely, there was a great presence of other multicultural organizations that pitched in to inform the young students about higher education.
Members of the national Latin sorority Chi Upsilon Sigma and Latin fraternity Lambda Theta Phi made an appearance as well. Brothers and sisters from "Divine Nine" sororities helped out too, as sisters from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated talked to the young students.
Heywood Elementary faculty and staff members who were also Greek helped the volunteering students talk about life at a university or college, and the benefits people can get from earning a degree.
The young inquisitive minds of Heywood Elementary school asked the Greek students about college life and, in response, the Greeks asked the proverbial question of imagination to these students: "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
"One kid mentioned that he wanted to be a doctor, so we had to inform him that it takes a lot of education to do that, and you have to constantly be on top of your schoolwork while listening to your teachers. We taught these students valuable life lessons early on," Somesla-McCornell added.
The member of Nu Delta Pi also attested to the fact that this experience gave him even more confidence to pursue his dream of becoming an educator.
"I was able to spend more valuable time in the classroom. I want to become a teacher myself, so having the younger students look up to me and the brothers of my fraternity makes me feel important," Somesla-McCornell said. "Everything we said was engraved in their minds, and we made sure that whatever we said was positive. Our intention was to push these kids to achieve their goals without disapproving any of their ideas."
This event, which Somesla-McCornell hopes to attend next year, promotes the importance of education and the benefits of going to college to make life better. This was truly a school day that these young scholars will never forget.