Licking County News

Superintendents for a day

Licking Heights youngsters relish role as leaders

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Licking Heights West kindergartner Maxwell Caldwell (left) and first-grader Justin Morgan talk with Superintendent Philip Wagner on Jan. 29 after arriving back at their school building. The two were "Superintendent for the Day" after winning a fundraising contest organized by the Licking Heights PTO and spent the day with Wagner.

As one of Licking Heights' Superintendents for a Day on Jan. 29, first-grader Justin Morgan opted to visit his brother, Austin, who's in sixth grade.

"That's really cute," said Christel Morgan, Justin and Austin's mother.

Justin and kindergartner Maxwell Caldwell tied to win the Licking Heights PTO's Superintendent for a Day fundraiser contest.

As superintendent for the day, Justin and Maxwell had lunch with Superintendent Philip Wagner, visited the schools in the district, sat in on administration meetings and met with Pataskala city officials, including Mayor Steve Butcher and Police Chief Bruce Brooks.

"(Justin) really enjoyed it," Morgan said. "He has quite the leader attitude."

She said Justin had no problem telling Wagner that he wanted to visit his brother on his special day.

"Everybody was so nice," Morgan said.

Cindy Caldwell, Maxwell's mother, said her son also had a good time.

"He had a blast; he absolutely loved it," Caldwell said.

Since Maxwell is in kindergarten, he was only superintendent for half a day, but his mother said he enjoyed attending the school board meeting the evening of Jan. 29.

Maxwell didn't have a chance to tour the buildings, but Caldwell said he was thrilled to meet the Pataskala city officials and especially to receive business cards from them.

Wagner said both students enjoyed the day.

"It was a lot of fun," Wagner said. "We went to all the buildings and talked to all the principals."

He said his goal was to treat the day as more of a civic lesson in which Justin and Maxwell could better understand how the school district and the city of Pataskala work together.

"The larger message is that it's really not too early for them to start thinking about vocations," Wagner said. "As a district, we try to grow and match our education with future job opportunities."

While neither contest winner is old enough to know what career he'll eventually choose, both mothers said their boys plan to be in charge.

"I think being the leader is definitely in Justin's future," Morgan said.

"I know that Maxwell wants to be the boss and wear a tie," Caldwell said.

Butcher said he was pleased with the program.

"It was a wonderful opportunity to not only show these students and the entire community some of the responsibilities of the superintendent, mayor, police chief and (city) administrator, but also to show them that we all work together," Butcher said. "I would encourage young people looking at either a career or career change to do something they can be passionate about.

"Then, it's critical that they dedicate themselves to being and doing their best every day at this career."