Fifth Grade received an awesome surprise yesterday with Big Dreams Day!

Big Dreams Day

Big Dreams Day is an opportunity for fifth grade students to meet with a mentor within their preferred field of study/dream career and learn a bit about the path to reach their biggest dreams. Mentors meet with one to four students for 30 to 90 minutes based on availability, to ask questions, share their Big Dreams Board, and listen to the story of the mentor. Some mentors in the past have even provided experiences for the students during their time together, such as taking a tour of a Police cruiser, painting on a canvas, running sports drills, or looking at cells under a microscope.

The most exciting part of Big Dreams Day is that it is a complete surprise for the students! At the end of the school year, there is no greater gift than reaffirming their purpose for education and fueling their ability to dream big.

Before meeting their mentor, students crafted “hypothetical” interview questions to ask during a “hypothetical” interview, but little do they know that these hypothetical questions will actually be posed to a real mentor! Later, students will apply their understanding of writing expository texts to a newspaper-style article sharing their experiences with their mentor. Articles written by all fifth graders will be bound and delivered to each student as a keepsake/take-away for the year.

“Dreaming big is the foundation of students’ motivation to chase their passions,” says Mrs. Bell, the fifth grade teacher running Big Dreams Day. “We want to thank all of our mentors who volunteered their time yesterday and play an important role of this priceless initiative to inspire the future generation of teachers, doctors, lawyers, artists, veterinarians, and more.”

A note from Mrs. Bell:

Big Dreams Day was the brainchild of a dear friend of mine from my years at Hite-Saunders Elementary. Susan McKinley, our school’s only special education teacher, committed herself daily to not just doing right by her students, but doing the best for her students, no matter what the cost. A dreamer herself, Susan breathed life into Big Dreams Day – an opportunity for each student to meet a mentor in his or her “dream career” for a few hours to talk about the trials and triumphs that led to accomplishing his or her big dreams. Students created Dream Boards — a collage of sorts, with photos, words, and art — that showcased their biggest dreams and deepest desires. From the outside looking in, it was one of the most remarkable things I had ever seen – a group of students embracing their truest potential, and believing that maybe, just maybe, their wildest dreams might one day become their reality. It was an honor to carry Susan’s tradition to Powhatan and provide this unique experience for our students. The “Big” day was a surprise last year; students found out about their mentors through a personal letter, and had just a day’s time to craft interview questions for their appointments. Our classrooms buzzed with excitement – a kind of high that lives inside the heart and takes deep root, fueling their passions for years to come. And though they felt they were the ones receiving a gift, the true gift was mine – it was packaged in the smiles and the hugs. The gift will continue to give, and give, and give. It will give until those sweet students aren’t gluing magazine clippings on a dream board, but hanging degrees on their walls, art in their studios, stethoscopes around their necks, and blueprints in their offices. Bar none, Big Dreams Day is my favorite day of the school year.

~Mrs. Bell, fifth grade teacher