On Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg Student Pennsylvania State Education Association (SPSEA) will welcome students from Clelian Heights for their annual College Day event. The event will be held on campus in Village Hall. Students will be split into six groups and go from station to station to learn a lesson or participate in an activity centered around each school subject area. The theme of this year’s College Day is board games.
Last year, the English lesson was taught by PJ Dumnich, Jason Rivenburg, and Michelle Etling. They had the students in their groups find names of animals in crossword puzzles and word searches to fit into the safari theme.
Michelle Etling said of her experience in 2016, “That was truly my first experience working with exceptional students, so I learned a lot. The kids were so kind and genuine and I really enjoyed their company.”
This year, the English lesson will be taught by Peyton Clark, Kate Andrews, Hayley Hulbert, and Samantha Taraboletti. They plan to adapt MadLibs into a game of making silly sentences for the students.
Andrew McDonald, Sarah Raptosh, and Megan Schmucker will be teaching a geography lesson called “Where in the World.” The students will learn about several major countries, then find them on the map based on clues that they are given.
The Pitt-Greensburg SPSEA organizes this event yearly and it is a very rewarding experience for them and for the students themselves.
College Day started in 2005. When asked what the motivation behind the event was, Dr. Melissa Marks, Associate Professor of Education, said, “I wish I could claim credit, but it was that one of my students wanted to do something on campus for her mother’s students. Her mother was a teacher at the IU school for exceptional children. We ended up doing College Day as you know it now because I realized that my students did not know how to even say hello to students with disabilities. The purpose of it was to get our college students who are going to be teachers comfortable with exceptional children. For them to recognize that exceptional children are just children. They have the same types of interest in music, the same desire to be accepted and found to be amusing, and the same desire to be adored by their teachers.”