Students, families trade places at first COM Family Day
Posted on: September 17, 2013
"Welcome to the magic show!" Herman Trivilino, College of the Mainland physics professor, greeted the students and families gathered at College of the Mainland's first Family Day.
Trivilino proceeded to demonstrate thermodynamics by blasting a tennis ball out of a soup-can cannon filled with lighter fuel. For another act he dunked a rubber ball into liquid nitrogen, or “liquid air” as he called it, that was -200 degrees Celsius. A volunteer threw the frozen ball against the brick wall, and students watched wide-eyed as it shattered.
"That was awesome!" shouted a child named Julian on the front row. "You're a good scientist!"
At COM's first Family Day, students brought their children, parents, spouses and friends to see a snapshot of their lives through mini-classes in science, art and literature and to see how they can get involved and make the difference in their students’ success.
Frances Garcia’s daughter, Krista Cardenas, is taking Trivilino’s physics at COM, and Garcia checked out his mini-class to learn more.
"She's been telling all her friends to come here (for physics). She just loves it," said Garcia.
During lunch with faculty and families, Dr. Vicki Stanfield, COM Vice President for Student Services, acknowledged the power of family involvement in education.
"You're on this journey as much as your student," she said.
COM faculty and staff launched Family Day based on research showing that family support often is a determining factor in whether students stay in college.
As he toured campus, Paul Mendiz discovered ways he can support his son, Paul, who is taking COM dual credit classes at Texas City High School.
“We found out today about open labs that help students," said Mendiz. “We didn't know that they are open Saturdays. We know now to come here and get the assistance he needs."
The event also encouraged Mendiz to consider returning to school himself. Mendiz graduated from COM's Police Academy, and recently retired after 25 years working for the Galveston County Sheriff's Office. He and his son attended the process technology mini-class.
"It's inspired me to get back and get my feet wet," said Mendiz. "I thought I can't go back (to school) – these students are my kids' age. But talking to people today makes me think that maybe I can do it."
COM student Angela Jordy brought her four-year-old daughter to see the campus and try out the moonwalk and face painting for children. She asked her daughter, "Do you want to go to college?" Her daughter, blue-mouthed after enjoying a snow cone, responded, "Yes."
Stephanie Thompson joined her daughter, Trayvia Woods, who’s a current student at COM, for lunch with faculty.
"I have seven children. Six of them went here," said Thompson.
Woods, a COM student who became interested in the child development program after working in a day care, enjoyed visiting with staff and faculty at the informational booths about campus resources.
"It shows the love for students and parents that staff have to come out on Saturday," she said. "I love the unity that's shown. No matter what race or ethnicity you are, people are here to support you."