reParent volunteers demonstrate talents at DHMC

HEIGHTS – Whom do you call when you need an anatomically correct replica of a heart made out of clay, an Egyptian scale built for a cultural festival, or a theater set for a drama production?

At Dearborn Heights Montessori Center, teachers and staff know they can rely on parents to readily volunteer.

Dr. Heather Cadena, a pediatrician and mother of two boys who attend DHMC, recently volunteered her time for the school’s annual cultural festival that featured ancient
Egypt.

During class studies of ancient Egypt, students learned about the Weighing of the Heart ritual.

Egyptians believed that a person’s heart showed all of his or her good and bad deeds.

Upon death, one’s fate in the afterlife was determined in a ceremony in which the heart was placed on a set of scales and weighed against a feather, which represented
truth and justice.

If the heart was lighter than or in balance with the feather, the person would have a successful afterlife.

Cadena worked with students to help them build anatomically correct replicas of hearts from clay to be used with the replica scale.

The scale was designed by parent Kirste Moline who worked with the students to sand, paint and assemble the scale. The scale and hearts were on display during the cultural festival.

“We had fun and fixed the scale, so a clay heart would weigh less than a feather,” said Cadena, who also volunteers as a reading mom. “I work part-time which gives me a couple of days each week to help and see what’s going on. I love the opportunities
that are there.”

According to the school’s after-school drama program director, parent volunteer Bob Jason is going to be missed.

His daughter Emily graduated from DHMC’s Middle School program in June, and dad’s talents will likely move to his daughter’s new school in the fall.

A licensed builder, Jason could be counted on to donate his carpentry skills to build theater sets and other projects, including a Viking ship for the school’s cultural studies program.

“We understand that not every parent has the time to volunteer, but we want them to know our doors are always open,” said Laura Springer, DHMC’s assistant head of school. “Volunteering and spending time at our school are excellent ways for parents to engage with faculty and students. We sincerely appreciate their help and creativity.”

“Volunteering is in my blood,” said Moline, mother of Owen who will continue in the school’s upper elementary program in the fall.

Her daughter Aliyah, 14, graduated in June from the Middle School program.

Moline has taken the lead in a number of projects
including the school’s annual book fair, staff appreciation week and a variety of student projects.
She has also served as leader for the Girl Scout troop that meets at DHMC.

In addition, Moline served as the Parents Association president for several years and taught a web design elective in the middle school.

“I was an elementary and middle school teacher, and I love working with kids,” Moline said.

Her husband, Lee Freeman, also is an active volunteer. He has served as treasurer of DHMC’s Parent Association for five years, and has taught a stock market elective in the middle school.

“Parent volunteers are wonderful role models for students,” Springer said. “Our program sets a high standard for students to serve as role models for younger children and demonstrate generosity of spirit, responsibility for others, teamwork, leadership,
dependability, and courtesy. These parents are doing that.”