Brook Forest brothers share principal’s job
Brook Forest School Principal Nina McCabe talks to first graders May 23 while brothers Mateo (left) and Marcos Lopez get ready to read a story. The brothers got to be "principal for a day," a prize from a recent PTO auction. | Chuck Fieldman~Sun-Times Med
Updated: July 3, 2012 8:56AM
While respect, responsibility and readiness are three characteristics of priority for Brook Forest School students, sharing also was noticeable May 23 when brothers Marcos and Mateo Lopez worked as the Oak Brook elementary school’s “principal for a day.”
Being principal for a day was one of the prizes in a recent annual PTO auction for Brook Forest. Marcos, a fourth grade student, shared the job a year ago with another student after his parents submitted a high bid. This year, Marcos was back for another day as principal and shared the experience with his brother, who is a second grader.
“I enjoyed doing it last year, too, but I enjoyed it more this year because I get to spend time with my brother, and that makes it a lot more fun,” Marcos said.
“It feels great to share it with him because we usually don’t spend that much time together,” Mateo said. “I asked my mom if she could bid on this again because I wanted a chance to do it with my brother.”
While the Lopez brothers got a taste of being principal for a day, first grader Kaitlyn Poulos occupied a job as a secretary, another auction prize.
“This is something we do each year, and the children are so small, so I match the activities they do with their age,” Brook Forest Principal Nina McCabe said. “Marcos and Mateo are very sharp; they probably don’t even need me to be around.”
The brothers and Kaitlyn met with McCabe to plan the day, which included working with students in various classrooms and some other tasks handled by a school principal.
“They do get a taste of what it’s like being a principal,” McCabe said during a morning session at which Marcos and Mateo read a book to first graders and asked questions about the story. The afternoon included doing an inventory of desks at Brook Forest and picking out replacements, if needed, from a catalog.
“And they’ll do a purchase order with me, where we’ll use math,” McCabe said.
Along with having fun, McCabe said she wanted Marcos and Mateo to use leadership and organizational skills working as principal.
“It’s different each year when we do this, depending on the age of the kids,” McCabe said. “This year, we’re able to do quit a bit.”
Along with working with one another, Marcos and Mateo liked carrying around walkie-talkies all day so they could communicate with the school office.
And being principal for the day was much as they expected.
“I think it’s the way my principal does it,” Mateo said.
The brothers have several years before they pursue a career. But one could see himself working as an educator.
“I thought of maybe being a teacher or principal,” Marcos said.
Mateo is interested in becoming an ophthalmologist. But he believes his older brother would make a fine principal.
“He’d be pretty good,” Mateo said. “He can brainstorm pretty well and work a lot. And he’s fair, too.”