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Nearly a decade after she built a Victorian model house in Marcia Reed’s fifth-grade art class at Wallingford Elementary School, Jennifer Gentile ’03 (Media, Pa.) was back at the school helping a new generation of fifth-graders plan houses of their own.

Gentile, a double major in economics & business and art, spent the January interim session as an intern in Reed’s art room at the school, watching the veteran teacher in action and helping her prepare for classes that include 400 children in grades 1 through 5.

“I assisted Mrs. Reed with preparing for each class and getting supplies ready,” Gentile says. “The projects were not just drawing on a piece of paper. They were detailed, creative projects.”

In addition to helping the fifth-graders conduct library research on Victorian homes, Gentile helped fourth-graders design and sew stuffed snakes, third-graders create wooden inhabitants of “blockvilles,” and second-graders craft mobiles. She also learned how to wield a glue gun quickly and safely.

“I gained a great understanding and respect for what it takes to teach art to children,” Gentile adds. “Being constantly organized, being prepared for each class and grade level, and having a great love for the children are necessary for inspiring youngsters to create and appreciate art.”

Gentile was impressed at how much effort and planning Reed puts into each class — and how she’s able to efficiently wrap up a crafts project and still find time to teach 10 minutes of art history to each class.

“It was a great five weeks,” Gentile says.

Reed says her former student shows promise as a teacher.

“She was just my right-hand person,” Reed says. “She’s very comfortable with children. That is such a plus in an elementary school. She picked up very quickly what I have to do when one class leaves and another comes in. She was very quick to see what needed to be done.”

Reed says that while Gentile didn’t teach classes on her own, she worked with small groups and learned a lot about classroom techniques.

“I’ve had a lot of student teachers, and she’s right up there with the best,” Reed says. “I missed her immediately when she left.”

Gentile, who added art as her second major last semester, says she’s becoming more interested in exploring art-related careers.

“If I were to be a teacher, I would definitely be an art teacher,” she says.
Gentile, who explored marketing last year in an externship at Armored Technologies, will be studying art more closely after the spring semester ends in May. She and other art students will travel to Florence, Italy, for three weeks for a class titled The Italian Renaissance taught by Diane Cole Ahl, Arthur J. ’55 and Barbara S. Rothkopf Professor of Art History and department head. This summer, she’s hoping to find an internship at an art museum or marketing firm.

A graduate of Strath Haven High School, Gentile is very active with Lafayette’s Landis Community Outreach Center. She is coordinator of the Boys and Girls Club program and former coordinator of Kids in the Community (KIC), an after-school program that aims to provide a fun, safe, and educational environment for children from the local housing projects. She served as a KIC Camp staff member last summer. She has also served as Lafayette’s AIDS Walk captain, participated in the MS Walk, and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and HIV/AIDS Education Prevention Now.

She’s vice president and dinner chair of the campus Newman (Catholic) Association and a tour guide for the admissions office. Gentile also is a member of Lafayette Activities Forum Executive Committee; the committee to select recipients of Hoff Awards, which honor students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members who have made outstanding contributions to the community and Lafayette; the committee that organized the making of a Commemorative Quilt, which students, faculty, and staff created expressing the theme of “Peace and Unity” as a response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the U.S.; and the Family Weekend Committee.

Categorized in: Academic News