Ciao Gelato owner Lynne Romeo watches Lowell Whiteman Primary School fifth-grader Wyatt Gray dish gelato Tuesday at the downtown store. Wyatt was working at the store for the school’s mentoring day.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Ciao Gelato owner Lynne Romeo watches Lowell Whiteman Primary School fifth-grader Wyatt Gray dish gelato Tuesday at the downtown store. Wyatt was working at the store for the school’s mentoring day.

Mentoring event lets students spend day with businesspeople

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Pet Kare Clinic veterinarian Kim Radway helps Lowell Whiteman Primary School sixth-grader Noah Bass look into a cat’s ear.

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Lowell Whiteman Primary School sixth grader Noah Bass watches veterinarian Kim Radway administer a vaccine to a cat Tuesday at Pet Kare Clinic.

— Decked out in a blue scrub shirt Tuesday, Noah Bass got a chance to see what it would be like to be a veterinarian.

The Lowell Whiteman Primary School sixth-grader was one of the school’s fifth- through eighth-graders who participated in its mentoring day. Whiteman Primary students spent the day shadowing a Steamboat Springs businessperson or member of a local organization.

The mentoring day program began with Whiteman Primary’s inception 17 years ago, Head of School Nancy Spillane said.

“We wanted our kids to have a taste of the real world,” she said.

Noah certainly did. He shadowed Kimberly Radway at Pet Kare Clinic. Radway performed a neuter and spay and cleaned the teeth of a large Pyrenees-mastiff mix.

“It’s a really good experience, I think,” Noah said. “I want to grow up to be a veterinarian. I think this is a cool (thing) to start off with.”

Radway said Noah received an overview of what she does. She said Whiteman Primary students have shadowed veterinarians at Pet Kare Clinic in the past.

“It’s a good opportunity at a young age for them to see if this is a career field they want to pursue or not,” she said.

Students are paired with mentors by areas of interest, said social science teacher Cindy Ruzica, who organized the mentoring day program. She said the intention is to make it an across-the-board learning experience. Students are briefed about what to wear, how to address adults and business etiquette.

“We use this one experience to teach a multitude of skills,” Ruzica said.

The fifth- through eighth-graders were at businesses across Steamboat on Tuesday.

Eighth-graders Dylan Parsons, Patrick Milne and Jim Vanderbeek spent the day shadowing Dr. Bill Cox, a pathologist at Yampa Valley Medical Center. They spent the morning in the hospital’s lab and the afternoon learning about cancer cells.

Dylan, Patrick and Jim all said they were interested in science, which led to their mentoring day at the hospital.

Fifth-graders Sage Turek and Liam Hahn spent the day shadowing Sales and Marketing Director Karen Schneider at The Steamboat Grand. Eighth-graders Olivia Rudolph and Olivia Rose worked with Shannon Ford, the hotel’s catering director.

Wearing chef coats provided by the hotel, which they were allowed to keep, Olivia Rudolph and Olivia Rose helped set up for the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs’ weekly luncheon. In addition to setting up the room, they prepared salads and helped make a sauce that was served with lunch.

Olivia Rudolph said she wants to attend culinary school and wanted an opportunity to work in the hotel’s kitchen. Olivia Rose said she just wanted to see what goes on in a hotel kitchen.

Liam said he really wanted to see the inner workings of a hotel and thought it would be cool to spend a day at the Grand. Sage couldn’t contain her excitement explaining some of the things she and Liam got to do Tuesday.

“We saw how people clean the rooms,” she said. “They folded the towels really cool. It looked like there was a shell in a little pocket.”

The students weren’t the only ones who had a good time.

“I love it because it’s fun to see these guys learn about new things and the applying of what their teachers are teaching,” Cox said. “They get to see it’s for real and actually gets applied somewhere.”

Schneider said being a part of Whiteman Primary mentoring day was a great way for the Grand to participate in the community and the raising of its children.

“I hope they’ll like it enough to stay and take over our jobs in the future,” she said.

Spillane said former students have entered professions of the businesspeople they shadowed while at Whiteman Primary.

She said that says a lot about the businesses in Steamboat and the mentors who put a lot of thought into the activities they plan for students.

“Because of that thoughtfulness, our kids think about entering those professions later in life,” she said. “People in the community are so great with kids. I really think it’s successful because of the quality of our mentors.”

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