, 2022-11-02 10:43:04,
A group of teachers and staff in one Painesville City elementary school is going beyond typical school subjects to teach fourth- and fifth-grade boys practical life skills.
The Elm Street Elementary Boys Club is now in its second year under the oversight of fifth-grade teacher Rich Gersten, English Language Development teacher Keith McCrory and district paraprofessional Mike Kline.
According to Gersten, the club meets after school every other week to teach 32 of the school’s students practical life skills such as cooking, power tools, laundry and proper table etiquette.
He said that Elm Street’s older boys expressed interest in a club after the school launched a club for girls, which The News-Herald featured after its 2019 launch. In response to frequent student requests, Gersten, McCrory and Kline met and created the group during the 2021-22 school year.
“The boys for probably, like, a month straight, every single day would ask me, ‘When are we going to do a boys club? When are we going to do a boys club?’” Gersten said. “So, they kind of were actually the ones who asked for it.”
Fifth-grader Giovanni Torres-Montes said that learning how to cook has been one of his favorite club activities because it will allow him to prepare food when his parents are not home. Fellow fifth-grader Zaid Marrero-Pacheco added that he hopes to help his mom cook.
Kline is a former chef and has taught the students how to make foods like breakfast sandwiches and pancakes, Gersten said, adding that these are “little things that they can do hopefully to get them a little more vested in the kitchen to care for themselves.”
The students have also practiced outdoor activities including fishing and disc golf, he noted.
Marrero-Pacheco added, “Fishing is kind of fun because you get to try to find your own food and then after you are done taking a picture, then you toss it back in and then you feel like you’ve done something.”
Janluca Gomez-Martinez said that in addition to cooking and fishing, which have been his favorite activities, the boys have also learned sports and proper manners, among other activities. The fifth-grader said that he joined the club to “learn more about being a gentleman.”
The club’s organizers have also taught students how to use power tools, demonstrate proper table etiquette, wash clothes, sign signatures, tie ties, write notes expressing gratitude and work on cars, said Gersten. They also learned games such as four…
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