Local students overshadow Punxsutawney Phil

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 3, 2002

Features Editor

Five hundred -plus students who left home Friday morning wondering why they have to learn "all that stuff" in school, went home with a much better understanding.

All eighth grade students in the Pike County and Troy City school systems and those in the career technical classes had an opportunity to job shadow their parents or friends Friday. The opportunity usually comes on the day the world famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, comes lumbering out to forecast the weather on the basis of whether or not he sees his shadow.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Because Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, was on Saturday this year, the students were out job shadowing a day early.

"Groundhog Job Shadow Day was a great success," said Evelyn Watson, Troy City/Pike County School-to-Work Opportunities. "Every year, we have more participation and that’s because of the interest parents are taking in job shadowing and are making an effort to set their children up with a job shadowing experience."

Participation in job shadow day was outstanding, Watson said.

"We have 343 eighth graders in the city and county school systems, combined, and we had 260 of those students to participate," Watson said. "The other students were from the career technical classes."

Watson shadowed the job shadowers to many of the 250 businesses that participated. She was impressed and encouraged by what she saw.

"I saw students, whose parents are housekeepers at motels, helping them make beds and clean floors," she said. "I heard parents talking to their children about lunch breaks and all that is involved in their work. It’s important for children to see what their parents go through to provide for them – very important."

Many of the students shadowed their parents but others chose to shadow someone whose job is of particular interest to them.

"If a child has shown an interest in a particular field or job, some parents set up a job shadowing experience in that workplace for them," Watson said. "Job shadowing is a great learning experience."

The students were given a list of questions to ask in the workplace.

"Many students want to know why they have to learn math or science or why reading is important," Watson said. "Their job shadowing experience showed them that what they learn in school is valuable and useful in the workplace. They also asked questions about the educational training needed to do specific jobs. Knowing what is required of a job is important as students begin to think about what they want to do when it’s their time to enter the work force."

Watson expressed appreciation to the parents who set up job shadowing experiences for their students, to those who were such good role models for their shadows and to the employers who welcomed the students into their places of business.

"Everyone works together to make Groundhog Job Shadow Day a success and everyone benefits, especially our students," Watson said.