Saint Ambrose Catholic School is rich in many traditions that span across our school from preschool through eighth grade. One of the greatest of these traditions is Eighth Grade Leadership Day- it truly is a gift of experiences.  This year, Leadership Day for our eighth-grade class was packed full of learning opportunities, hands-on activities, and great messages as the class prepares to close this chapter at Saint Ambrose and soar into their futures.

The day began at MGI Produce where the students toured a produce distribution center and healthy snacks were enjoyed by all.  Cleveland State University, Washkewicz College of Engineering was the next stop. Graduating students at CSU shared a presentation on the seven different disciplines in engineering.  We learned the field of engineering is challenging, exhausting, and most importantly extremely rewarding because of the ability to help others and make a difference. Then the students were put into groups and posed to create their own Rube Goldberg challenges to compete for prizes.  The winning group also earned the opportunity to ride the Segway. A great message was shared- “Fail, fail, fail- keep trying and do not give up. The best engineers know how to fail.”.

UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital hosted Saint Ambrose after lunch at Mama Santas in Little Italy.  The class learned all about holistic medicine by chanting and singing with a music therapist, exploring the beautiful Angie’s Garden (which is a rooftop garden part of the Angie Fowler Institute) and learning the importance of nature in healing the human body, mind and spirit.  The students met a child life specialist who shared some of her job responsibilities with them including preparing children and parents for procedures that are often scary and providing comfort and support through education and play. The class also toured parts of this nationally recognized pediatric hospital.  The takeaway message from the professionals we met- “Find what makes your heart happy and brings you the greatest amount of joy”. All those we met at Rainbow exemplified this as they radiated true joy in their respective careers in providing comfort and healing therapies to ill children.


The last stop took the class to the Cleveland Sight Center where the students learned about the different careers within a non-profit.  Seven staff members were present to share their job responsibilities and the common theme amongst all was that they find great satisfaction in helping others.  The point that was stressed was “No matter what you choose to do in life, you have to have great customer service skills”.

Students also learned about visual impairments and met a staff person who is legally blind and does not let this affect her abilities to work and to enjoy life all with a fantastic sense of humor.  The Sight Center had a plethora of activities to try while blindfolded including corn hole, bowling, pouring water, and learning to read and write in Braille.

It was an exceptional day of learning and exploring potential career paths.  Days like this prove that life experiences make the greatest gifts. Many thanks to Father Bob, Principal Cinadr and Mrs. Kelley Marvin for making Leadership Day possible and planning such a special day for our eighth graders.