Trials, drums and touchdowns: Lincoln Elementary students get a taste of different activities, careers

School's fourth annual Explore More Day brings in members of community to expand horizons

Lincoln Elementary students get a lesson in DNA collection during their school's Explore More Day on Feb. 10. (Elmhurst Titan video by Dave Lemery)

ELMHURST – Anyone wandering the halls of Lincoln Elementary School on Friday, Feb. 10, would’ve been forgiven if they felt they’d stumbled onto a kind of backwards talent show, where parents and community members were the ones putting their skills on display for the students.

In a way, it was exactly that, but it had as much of an educational as an entertainment bent as students took part in the school’s Explore More Day.

This was the fourth year that the school hosted the event, where presenters talked about their various careers and skills. Presenters included a criminal attorney, a former NFL player and current NFL writer, a drummer, a computer programmer, a beekeeper and more.

Children moved from classroom to classroom periodically, while the presenters stayed put, regaling the students with interactive descriptions of what they do.

Clarissa Palermo-Gilley, for instance, led students through a mock trial of one of their fellow classmates. After the students on the mock jury had elected to convict, she revealed new evidence that their classmate was not guilty after all.

“They can ask for a new trial if there is evidence that he’s not guilty,” Palermo-Gilley reassured the students. “This might be a case where, if that came out after the fact, he would be entitled to a new trial.”

In another classroom, former NFL player Matt Bowen, who now works as a sports journalist, was talking about his old career and his new one.

“I watched the game tapes of the Patriots [before the Super Bowl], and I said to my editor, ‘let’s draw their top 15 plays,'” Bowen said. “So when people are watching the game, they can have this [diagram] up.”

After explaining the diagram to the class, Bowen talked about how he makes that information usable for readers.

“I have to be able to write that,” Bowen said. “It’s one thing to say it to you, I have to be able to put that in print … so people understand what I’m talking about.”

The Explore More Day was organized by the Lincoln Elementary School PTA, led by Lincoln parents Abby Kohl, Christina Piper and Jill Hansmann.

“We are blessed to have some very dedicated parents through our PTA who recruit the volunteers, organize the day, set it up for the students, they really run the whole show for us,” Lincoln Elementary Principal Kathleen Tomei said.

The purpose of the day, Tomei said, is to expose students to more than just the basics of education.

“[It’s about] really wanting to broaden their learning and their … background knowledge of new ideas, spark an interest, help them see that a passion they have can turn into a career.”