Elizabeth Zangara had a decision to make: Is a cupcake a want or a need?

The 6 year-old laughed and placed the round magnetic picture of a pink-frosted cupcake into the “want” side of the chart, one of many learning activities for children inside of the PNC Grow Up Great tent. Elizabeth then placed a toothbrush on the “Need” side of the chart.

The Grow Up Great tent was one of many activities for the thousands who came to the Sixth Annual Panerathon Aug. 30, sponsored by Covelli Enterprises.

When she worked her way through the different activities, she then went to the wardrobe area of the tent and had another big decision: What would she like to be when she grows up? She scanned through the collection of 21 different costumes hanging and without much hesitation, she bypassed uniforms for a marine biologist, doctor, Army soldier, veterinarian and others. She chose the police officer uniform.

Seconds later, she smiled as workers in the PNC Grow Up Great tent snapped her picture dressed as a police officer.
Her mother, Carolyn Zangara, said it was the second time she chose to be a police officer. Elizabeth visited The Grow Up Great Tent when it was recently in Warren.

Ryan Pastore, a vice president for PNC Bank and director of client and community relations, said the tent is part of the bank’s overall commitment to education. Pastore explained that the tent’s hand-on focus allows children to select learning activities that appeal to them.

“PNC Bank is deeply committed to early childhood education and wants to help parents learn some of the best practices for helping their children learn,” he said.

Standing just outside of the tent during the Panerathon, Pastore smiled as children and their parents completed the different activities at each station.

Activities in the tent are designed so that parents complete them alongside the children.

As a parent of two girls, Pastore said he knows how important it is for parents to be involved in their children’s education.

“To me, it is vitally important to be part of my child’s education, even before they head off to kindergarten. As parents, we are a child’s primary teacher. The first five years of a child’s life are crucial in terms of development, and my hope is that we can give all children the ability to not only grow up, but to grow up great,” Ryan said.

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