This year, the South Tampa Chamber partnered with five South Tampa schools to sponsor The Great American Teach-In (GATI). On November 17, volunteers from SCS Engineers attended several schools County-wide to explain what their profession is and what they do on the job. GATI gives elementary and middle school students’ exposure to the different careers that make our world run.
Carlo Lebron, PE, chatted with second graders at Ballast Point Elementary about how as an engineer he can help businesses and citizens protect the environment. Afterward, Carlo said, “The class was wonderful and full of inquisitive kids!”
Brooke Fait, MPH, PG, discussed the health and safety aspects of environmental engineering with sixth graders at Madison Middle School. Brooke stayed for an encore session when one of the kids came in and said, “Yeah! This is the first one [GATI] I’ve had all day.” Who could resist?
Bruce Clark, PE, BCES, LEED AP® and Maria Bajrami, Associate Professional went to Crestwood Elementary. They explained what a civil engineer and environmental professional does every day. The two brought a landfill biogas energy use model with them and explained the role landfills play in a community; from having a safe place for our trash, to recycling, to creating energy, to using nature to help turn trash back into natural by-products.
Bruce describes a portion of the day, “When we mentioned in the presentation about how a special type of bug in the landfill eats garbage and makes a gas, that precipitated a landslide of questions for a good 45 minutes! How big are they? Do they have babies? How do they grow? Do they come out of the landfill? Why do they like the landfill? How can they live with no oxygen?”
He went on to say, “If you want to know the answers, just ask the students. These kids are very perceptive, engaged, sharp and well behaved. I did not know half of what these kids know at seven years old.”
Maria put the day in perspective by saying, “As adults, often times, we lose sight of important lessons we learn as children… We forget that we don’t need as much as we think we do to be happy. We forget to ask questions, in fear that they are not relevant or stupid. We forget to brush things off and keep moving, should life knock you down. Standing in front of 36-second graders during ‘The Great American Teach-In’ served as a reminder of the simplicity, curiosity, and resilience of a child, and how those lessons should be captured and never forgotten.”
Thank you to the students, teachers, and administrators for making this wonderful day possible.
SCS Engineers is proud to participate and support our communities across the nation.