By TIM CLEVELAND
When approximately 100 fathers and their fifth-grade sons gathered Feb. 26 at McKinley Elementary for Father-Son Night, the majority of them had no idea what they were going to be presented with.
“I really don’t know what they’re going to be talking about. It’s going to be a surprise,” said Scott Smith, who attended along with his son Matthew. “We do what our wives tell us to do. There’s a father-son event at school. You be there at a certain time.”
When the event got under way, Principal Ed Kempers began by talking about his life at the same age as the students, talking about the growing up process, and how the students will soon be going through many changes.
Kempers went on to introduce Dr. Eugene Mowad, a pediatric hospitalist and the Director of Medical Education at Akron Children’s Hospital. Dr. Mowad’s purpose was to speak to the youngsters about puberty and what will soon be happening with their bodies.
“This is my 12th year at McKinley Elementary School, but they have been doing this activity for probably 25 or 30 years,” Kempers said. “We’ve had area doctors come in – and Dr. Mowad has probably done this for the last eight years.”
Dr. Mowad spoke about testosterone and the role it will be playing in their bodies.
He said it will tell their bodies to change, and spoke of how they will soon be growing hair in unusual places, like under their arms, and how they will be getting pimples and will sweat more than normal.
As Mowad spoke to the students about the many changes their bodies would undergo, both physical and emotional, some of the topics produced strong reactions, such as laughter or embarrassment.
Despite the expected reaction from the fifth-graders, Kempers said the presentation will have a positive impact on the students.
“It’s a good thing for our fifth-grade kids to hear with their dads,” he said. “They come in here tonight knowing that they may see changes in their body that doesn’t make sense to them, knowing that the other 90 boys in their grade are going through the same things at the assume time, I think makes them feel good that they’re not alone and there are people to turn to to help if they have any questions about the changes that are happening.”