A group of kindergarten girls clung to Mount Nittany Middle School sixth-grader Aaron Brucker.
He stood straight with arms at his side and just smirked when they flocked to him near a multicolored rug in room 221 of Mount Nittany Elementary School.
The 11-year-old was able to shadow his mom, kindergarten teacher Jennifer Brucker, on Thursday for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
It’s a national initiative held annually on the fourth Thursday of April that allows parents to take their children to work.
State College Area School District participated in the day, along with other area agencies like Penn State, the Centre County Courthouse and local businesses.
“It’s cool to see what she does,” Aaron said. “She takes home her work sometimes, but now I have the chance to see what she does while I’m in school.”
Aaron said the kindergarten class structure is different from what he remembers in kindergarten at Corl Street Elementary School, but said the experience helping in the classroom could influence his career choice.
“I might want to be a teacher, but to older kids like in fourth, fifth or sixth grades,” he said.
When Jennifer Brucker announced just before 10 a.m. that “Aaron’s in charge,” her class of 18 students turned around and listened to him.
“It’s actually really nice to have an extra helper,” Brucker said. “It’s funny because they see Aaron as an adult.”
Aaron helped with reading, writing, math and other activities where children learned seasons and months of the year.
When it came to a writing exercise, 6-year-old Addie Murrell said she wanted to be in a group that included Aaron.
“I just want to be at whatever table he’s going to be at,” Addie said enthusiastically.
With the school’s positive behavior program, Aaron also said he was observing kids who were well-behaved, including Mollie Bortz, 5, and classmate Dexter Chase, 6, who both said they receive “dozens” of accolades.
Brucker said for each “good deed,” a student is given a “PAWS ticket” they can turn in for prizes. On a daily basis, the students are encouraged to be respectful, responsible, and safe.
“There are a couple students who stand out,” Aaron said. “It’s cool that they’re really good kids.”
Fellow kindergarten teacher Marcie Rockey was also accompanied by her twin daughters — seventh-graders Sydnee and Emma Rockey. Instructional support teacher Lisa Shenk had her eighth-grade daughter Katherine Shenk in, as well.
Principal Deb Latta said the school participates in the event to give children a different insight to what their parents do.
“It’s a fun day, and one that can open a lot of doors,” she said.
Rockey’s husband, Chad Rockey, is a Title I teacher at Lemont and Houserville elementary schools.
“I guess, with both their parents being teachers, perhaps they’ll walk in their parents’ footsteps,” Latta said.