Gateway: Living

Big trucks rev up career dreams for Purdy Elementary students

Purdy Elementary School second-grader Camri Clawson, center, receives a container with fire prevention and safety materials from Gig Harbor Fire’s Nanette Tatom at the recent educational “Big Trucks” exposition at the school. Tatom emphasized Child Passenger Safety, reminding parents how important it is to never have children in the front seat until they are at least 13 years old.
Purdy Elementary School second-grader Camri Clawson, center, receives a container with fire prevention and safety materials from Gig Harbor Fire’s Nanette Tatom at the recent educational “Big Trucks” exposition at the school. Tatom emphasized Child Passenger Safety, reminding parents how important it is to never have children in the front seat until they are at least 13 years old. Special to the Gateway

Purdy Elementary held the first “Big Truck Event” I’ve ever seen on a school campus last month.

“It was a successful community partnership event highlighting the many paths to success students can take,” said Kathleen Moloznik, who helped organize the event.

The Purdy PTA and Purdy Auction Committee lead the auction every other year, raising funds for PTA-sponsored events and critical necessities for the enrichment of the school and education of its students.

The PTA kicked off an “Oh The Places You’ll Go!” theme, getting families and students informed, involved and inspired to throw a Big Truck Event. Sponsors provided fun for students and possible career choices.

“(It) was awesome because there was a game truck and you could honk the horns of big trucks,” said fourth-graders Jillian Bunch and Addison Sebren. “There was a police car where you could pretend you were in jail.”

Not a career choice.

“The cars were cool and I liked the pencils that changed color when you rubbed them,” said first-grader Shae Dooley, whose classmate, Caleb Johnson, “played in the game truck three times.”

“I got to sit in a huge construction truck that had big buckets and got to honk the really loud horn,” trumpeted second-grader Jack Cross, who also “got to pull levers on the tow truck.”

Fifth-graders sold snacks, drinks and pizza donated by the Brost Family’s Little Caesar’s as a fundraiser for their class. Kids entered a drawing to win minecraft career T-shirts.

“The game truck was really fun,” said fourth-grader Alec Krishnadasan. “Pizza was a great idea and I liked all the trucks, especially the Peninsula Light trucks because of the crates that go up in the air.”

Dominick Kantzer, fifth grade, also liked “the game truck and looking at the big trucks, (especially) the fire truck and learning how it worked.”

Event sponsors included Peninsula Light, which hosted three vehicles and a booth with free surge protectors, balls for kids, and energy conservation information; Gig Harbor Fire Department, which brought two fire trucks and Nanette Tatom informing families about car seat safety; Paul Kadzik DDS and Associates; Edward Jones with financial advice; Purdy Veterinary Hospital; and State Farm had rapt audiences. Students had a blast being photographed in the Gig Harbor Police Department’s patrol car.

“Showing parents around school, they got to see what we’d already done,” said fifth-grader Grace Abrigo. “Outside were trucks and other items us kids had never seen before … especially up close. The (veterinarian) adoption booth was awesome; they had all types of of breeds. My favorite was the boxer. I also got to brush the teeth of an alligator!”

Cannon Companies gave safety bracelets and truck erasers as guests took turns climbing to sit in their state-of-the-art dump truck. Town and Country Towing demonstrated the workings of its tow truck. A huge favorite for the kids was a game truck where they took turns playing popular video games inside and dancing outside in front of large video screens. ACE Foreign Language Program and Bricks 4 Kidz offered information on afterschool enrichment programs for kids.

“Without the teamwork of the PTA, our administration, Purdy families and support of our generous community joining local businesses to enrich the education of our children’s unlimited potential, this event could not have happened,” said Purdy Principal Kristi Rivera. “It was a fabulous evening of community partnerships, family fun and inspiration for Purdy students.”

And me!

Hugh McMillan is a longtime freelance writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at hmcmnp1000@centurytel.net.

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