Students at East Elementary School envision the future through their choice of apparel |

Students at East Elementary School envision the future through their choice of apparel

Future Day gives students a chance to imagine who they'd like to be later in life

Michael Neary

Antonia Vasquez, a fourth-grader at East Elementary School, dressed as a surgeon for Future Day on Friday — a day when students could dress as people they’d like to be as grownups.

Michael Neary

— Antonia Vasquez came to school Friday wearing a stethoscope — and looking ahead to a profession that she hopes will let her reach out to lots of people.

“I would like to be a surgeon when I get older,” said Antonia, a fourth-grader at East Elementary School. “I like to help people, and I want to make the world a better place.”

Antonia and her schoolmates at East came to school on Friday dressed as people they’d like to be as they gaze into the future. The day was tabbed on the school calendar as “Future Day,” with an invitation to “dress like someone you want to be when you grow up.” On Friday, a visitor might have run into a local sheriff, a princess, a baseball player, a ballerina, a coal miner, a teacher and a medley of other young professionals.

For Antonia, her dream to become a surgeon comes from her own experience.

“I have a stronger voice because I had surgery,” she said. “It makes me have confidence and want to do what my surgeon does.”

Ruby Short came to school carrying books and wearing her hair in a bun, with a pencil trussed within those locks.

“I want to be an author,” said Ruby, a fourth-grader. “I really like creating writing, and I like the art of writing because there’s tons of different things you can do with it.”

Ruby mentioned authors she likes to read — particularly Laura Ingalls Wilder and Chris Colfer.

“In ‘Little House On the Prairie’ (by Wilder), I really like how it’s historical fiction and how it tells about her life,” Ruby said. “I also like Chris Colfer’s writing because it has a lot of fantasy.”

Ruby said she liked the way Colfer’s writing touched on fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm.

Quincy Lowe, also a fourth-grader, was wearing a star-checkered scarf, graceful blue earrings and a pink bow in her hair.

“I want to be a clothes designer because there are so many different clothes to wear, and I think I can make a statement that it doesn’t matter what you wear just as long as you like it,” Quincy said.

The students, on Friday, weren’t the only ones at East Elementary School whose attire helped them to look longingly toward the future. Jonathan Waters, a library technician, dressed for the day casually, in sweat pants. He said he and his wife decided on that outfit.

“We decided this morning that I would go as someone who’s retired,” he said.

The school’s social, or spirit, committee planned the day. One of the committee members, Principal Sarah Hepworth, said the group is among a number of committees that allow “teachers to be leaders within our building.”

Regarding the work of the social committee, several members stressed the importance of crafting relationships throughout the school — relationships that range outside of the classroom.

“We try to invite families in so you’re creating that bridge between home and school,” said committee member Kim Maneotis, a full-day preschool teacher at the school. “You have your Muffins for Moms, you have your Donuts for Dads. Everything we do is really about building relationships.”

Hepworth said a previous version of the social committee helped to design “welcome-back conferences” in which teachers met individually with families at the beginning of the school year.

“It’s kind of like a parent-teacher conference, but it’s not about academics,” Hepworth said. “It’s really building that first relationship, before school starts, between a teacher, the student and the student’s family.”

As for Friday’s Future Day, Maneotis noted the chance students had to dream something that could one day become part of their reality.

“Our focus for choosing to dress the way you would like to be is really letting kids know that Craig, Colo. is a small area, and beyond Highway 40 there’s a whole world, and you can be anything you want to be,” Maneotis said. “We want them to have dreams and aspirations, and for them to know it just takes one person to believe in them — and they have the power.”

Contact Michael Neary at 970-875-1794 or or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Education.