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Students explore service vehicles

Button Gwinnett hosts 'Wheels at Work'

POSTED: March 7, 2011 12:49 p.m.
Photo by Seraine Page/

Hinesville Police Department accident investigator Kevin Zieran watches as kindergarten student Jaden Randall steps out of Zieran’s police car while his teacher, Shana Odom, helps students into the vehicle on the other side. It was Zieran’s first time coming out to the school for career week.

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Shiny cars with blaring horns and sirens filled the parking lot of Button Gwinnett Elementary on Friday morning as part of the school’s second annual “Wheels
at Work” presentation to allow students to talk with people who
use different vehicles for their
jobs.
The event served as a wrap-up to career week, where students had opportunities to listen to speakers in various professions and learn about each field.
Students in kindergarten through fifth grade gathered in the parking lot to take a look at 24 vehicles used in careers throughout the community. Each vehicle had its owner close by to monitor students sliding in and out of the seats and to answer any questions about their jobs.
“Why is there a computer in your car?”
“Why do you have a gun?”
“Why do people go to jail?”
“Can I sit in the car?”
Students fired off questions faster than some of the cars could drive, amazing the owners and operators of the vehicles.
“I love explaining to the kids the importance of paying attention,” Hinesville Police Department accident investigator Kevin Zieran said. “I think it’s a pretty neat thing they’re doing. I think it’s important to show the different facets of the community and how we have to work together for the city to run the way it does.”
School counselor Frednell Walthour, the creator of the event, said she always is impressed by the questions that students come up with to ask the volunteers. Even though the event is only two years old, Walthour said it has been extremely successful and beneficial to curious students.
“I’m really pleased with the community coming out and helping us,” Walthour said. “I wanted the children to see how we use these different careers.” 
The participants in the event volunteered their time from work to take part in the school-wide initiative. Earlier in the week, students listened to guest speakers, visited informational career booths and watched a dog show as part of the week-long educational event.
First-grader Aleena Allen, 6, beamed while walking around looking at all the cars parked behind the school.
“We can learn a lot of things they do and what things they do to help people in the community,” she said.
Another first-grader took a different perspective on the event and how it could help benefit her one day when she is old enough to drive.
“If someone doesn’t have a car, you can ask them [the car dealership] if they can sell it to you for less,” Kiara Brown said after visiting with a car salesperson from a Chevrolet dealership.
Fire trucks, ambulances, cop cars, cherry pickers and other vehicles were available for students to sit in. A school bus sat in the parking lot, and a driver spoke to the students about bus safety after students had taken their seats on the bus, Walthour said. A Chevrolet dealership brought various models of cars, including the “Bumblebee” look-a-like from the movie “Transformers.”
Principal Laverne Halliburton took a moment to come out and watch the students interact with volunteers and praised the program and Walthour for her work on the event.
“She has done a wonderful job. We’ve had a great week. This is the highlight; they love this,” Halliburton said. “I love it, too, because even as adults we learn and ask questions. This is a great way to end career week.”

 

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