Ridgedale Elementary students learn about career vehicles

MORGANTOWN — Big wheels, keep on learning.

Students at Ridgedale Elementary School had a big assignment on Wednesday morning.

Well, check that.

It wasn’t so much an assignment as it was a learning activity.

For the record, though, it was definitely big.

How big?

Put it this way: When Evan Porrini hopped down from the backhoe’s cab, the fourth-grader was still looking up at the contraption’s back tires —  as they were that tall.

And, for the record, he isn’t necessarily short for his age.

“I liked the levers,” he said. “I like anything that moves on wheels.”

Because he was interested, he paid attention when the backhoe’s operators were talking about the importance of knowing about geology and soil composition as a prerequisite for working those levers.

You can thank Meghan Beech for the slyness of the activity.

Beech is the Ridgedale counselor who came up with Careers on Wheels —  “COWS,” for short —  three years ago.

The school parking lot Wednesday was full of giant vehicles, such as Evan’s earth-mover, and dump trucks and utility trucks.

A fire truck and a couple of police cars were idling there, as well.

The idea of COWS, the counselor said, is to show that while there are jobs out there that might not require a traditional college degree, traditional learning is still involved.

There’s specialized training, she said, and the constant testing (studying) that recertification demands.

“It’s lifelong learning,” she said. “It all applies.”

Tony Collins, who was there with his company, Collins Concrete, spread some math philosophy along with the concrete he was mixing.

Concrete bonds science and chemistry together, he said, to the Ridgedalers gathered for the demonstration.

Math, Collins said, does the rest.

“You’re gonna have to do math,” he told his audience.

“How many of you guys do math? You get the math wrong in concrete, and you’re gonna have a bad day.”

Daniel Ellison was going to avoid a bad day by watching where was walking.

“I’m not stepping in the concrete,” the first-grader said. “These are new shoes.”