By Terry Rogers
On Monday, October 6, Representative Harvey Kenton and Mayor Bryan Shupe acted as Principal for the Day at two elementary schools in Milford. Representative Kenton took over for Dr. Bobbie Kilgore at Benjamin Banneker Elementary while Mayor Shupe took over for Ms. Susan Donahue at Mispillion Elementary.
The Principal for a Day Program began in 1993, facilitating more than 1,300 school visits by business people and government officials. The goal of the program is to create a closer connection between school, college and career. The program is sponsored by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce through The Partnership, Inc. The Principal of the Day Program was designed to address a need to foster working relationships between business leaders and educators under the Superstars in Education umbrella.
“The program gives the children a chance to learn more about possible careers they may want to consider in the future,” Dr. Kilgore explained. “Even at this early age, we are teaching children about different careers that adults have so they can begin to take the path that will lead them to the career of their choice after high school or college. They also get to see how community members give back and volunteer their time working in their community.”
Representative Kenton began his day assisting with the morning announcements and leading the students in the Pledge of Allegiance. He then chose books from the library that he would read to the classes he visited throughout the day. Mr. Kenton said he remembered the Banneker library from the old school as his wife, Jeannie, worked as a teacher assistant in the library at Banneker and Ross for more than 30 years.
“My three children all have teaching degrees,” Representative Kenton said. “I was an education major at Wesley College and served a term on the Milford Board of Education, but this is the first time I have had the opportunity to be an honorary principal. I will do everything the principal asks me to do today, including bus platform duty, hall duty, classroom observation and lunch duty. I hope to speak to as many classes as possible about my legislative duties without interrupting the normal class lessons.” Mr. Kenton said that the entire day was a wonderful experience, especially reading to the students in the classrooms.
Mayor Shupe began his day at Mispillion Elementary greeting students on the bus platform and participating in the morning announcements. In addition, he met with the Fuel Up to Play 60 leaders to discuss the “Walk for Wellness” Kick-Off event before doing walk-throughs with Ms. Donahue to observe the learning process.
“I see the Principal for a Day program as a great way for community leaders to see the great things that are happening in district schools,” said Ms. Donahue. “It is a fun way for students to meet community members in order to share their learning with visitors.”
Ms. Donahue said she first became aware of the Principal for a Day program when she was an assistant principal at Lulu Ross Elementary and continued her involvement when she became principal at Mispillion Elementary. She said she was excited to invite community members to Mispillion Elementary when they opened their doors a few years ago.
“Principal for a Day at Mispillion Elementary was a fun and insightful experience,” Mayor Shupe said. “I enjoyed shadowing with Principal Donahue and impressed by the attention that is given to each individual student. Meeting with honor students and also students that are being served by the Response to Intervention programs, it is clear to see that Ms. Donahue and her staff are focused on making sure that each child has the greatest opportunities for success.”