Tom Lea students get lessons from EPISD maintenance pros
(TOM LEA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL — Nov. 7, 2018) -- Electricians, plumbers and maintenance workers from the El Paso Independent School District brought their insight and knowledge to the pre-kindergarten classrooms of this Northeast elementary school for a neat show-and-tell presentation.
Tom Lea teachers said the school often welcomes soldiers, lawyers and other professionals to speak to classes, but to their recollection this is the first time students get a glimpse into the crucial jobs these dedicated employees do.
“We want them to visually see the people in action and see what they can inform them about their job. It’s hard for them to visualize what an electrician is or what a plumber does and then if they come in and tell us about their trade they’ll be able to understand it better,” teacher Shawn Weigartz said. “I hope that they understand what their job is and why it’s important for our community. They may understand that firemen and police officers are not the only jobs out there because that is what they think right now.”
To help with the presentation, the teachers enlisted the help of nearly 40 fifth-grade campus student ambassadors.
Electrician Demetrio “Meter” Vargas, a 3-year employee with the district, brought in some visuals to show the students the different types of light switches and the light bulbs he uses. He also gave them a brief history lesson by telling the students that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in the 1870s.
“Maybe there’s a future electrician,” Vargas said after speaking with the young students. “There’s this misunderstanding that this field is just for men, but it’s becoming more common to see women electricians.”
Dual Pre-K teacher Angie Gonzalez wanted to make sure that the students see district workers as community helpers the same way students see law enforcement or first responders.
“When we talk about community helpers the first thing that comes to their mind is police officers, firefighters, soldiers so we wanted to bring actual employees from the district that actually help the community, help the schools,” she said. “Usually we see them here in the campus and we let them know who they are, but we just see them working and we really don’t get to interact with them.”
Gonzalez added: “By them coming into the classroom and bringing their stuff the the students are able to visualize it and get a broader, bigger idea of what it is that their jobs entail. Usually we only look for them when things are not working.”
Fifth-grade student and campus ambassador Mercedes Talamantes assisted the teachers with the students.
“It was very interesting, and I think it was quite important because the students actually learned something new about light switches,” she said. “They don’t know stuff like that so it was a new experience for them.”
Sergio Lujan, an HVAC foreman for EPISD, said he enjoyed the chance to speak with students.
“I really take pride in my work. I love to give the schools my priority, so I can give them air conditioning, heating and cooling,” he said. “I like to provide a nice clean environment for them so they can have a good learning experience and be comfortable and let them concentrate on their studies.”
Photos by Leonel Monroy