Presenting at Public School 212

What a long day! I had three presentations at P.S. 212 in Queens, one presentation for NYCDH at Fordham, and an important Alumni Association board meeting in one day. I write about the NYCDH in the following post, and the Alumni meeting was important, but not exciting (other than the fact that the SGA (Student Government Association) president, Juliana Dijkstra, visited us and really impressed everybody with her professionalism, maturity, and genuine eagerness to help the Alumni Association and the entire campus community).

Anyway, this post is about my morning at P.S. 212, where my sister, Alyssa Zukowski, teaches fifth grade. This is the second year in a row that she’s had me in to talk to the fifth grade classes about rocks, minerals, and geology in general. I blogged about my visit last year as well. This post will be short, I think, and I’m still waiting to hear what the school’s policy is for posting pictures that might include any students, so it will remain photo-less for now.

I made a specific effort during my presentations to emphasize two things: how cool it is to learn and discover all you can about the world around you, and that a college education (and a college experience) can open up so many new, unthinkable possibilities. I, for example, am an English major who became friends with a business major (shoutout to Bob Meyers!) at Tulane, and his father is an esteemed geologist. It was Bob who first told me about his wild experiences in Alaska as a geotechnician, and it was Bob who helped coordinate my initial discussion with the company that hired me. On April 5, 2011, I never would have thought that working in the Alaskan wilderness was a possibility for me. By April 25, I had a job studying rocks and digging for gold! The point, of course, was to encourage students about the excitement of education and the horizons it opens up. It’s amazing how magical rocks can suddenly seem to a 10-year-old mind when they’re talked about the right way.

My final note will be that I’m always surprised by how contagious students’ eagerness is. It’s my goal, of course, to get them excited about learning, but their excitement quickly reciprocates right back to me and gets me even more excited about learning- whether a class of fifth graders or a class of first-through-fourth-year college students.

Now here’s some pictures that last year’s P.S. 212 students sent to me after my visit:

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