A reporter, students and a Pepsi machine
April 20, 2005
Of course, the usual questions popped up pretty quickly: How much money do you make? Can I have a dollar?
I was in the “big conference room” at Kingsbury Middle School on Wednesday morning, fielding questions and blank stares from students who wanted details about my profession as a journalist. Wednesday was Career Day at the middle school.
The last time I spoke at Career Day, I was given a regular-sized classroom capable of holding a few dozen students.
This time, probably due to the presence of a water park owner and a proprietor of Cold Stone Creamery who reportedly had coupons for discounted ice cream, I was assigned a rectangular room with a table, eight plastic blue chairs and a Pepsi machine.
My first batch of students arrived sometime around 8:15 a.m. One of my questions to kick off the half-hour was why they decided to attend my session.
“I don’t even know why I chose this,” said Matt Schorr.
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“I thought (of the movie) ‘Anchorman,'” replied Trevor Fairbanks.
Thankfully I received some better answers when I asked why being informed is important.
“Everybody needs to know what’s happening,” said Monika Oznowicz. “If you don’t know what’s happening, you’re in trouble and can’t change anything.”
I realized the worst thing for a teacher is having silent students. For an unfamiliar instructor like myself, I was met with apathetic gazes, arms folded across chests and a few questions.
Trying to prod answers from some groups was as difficult as shucking an oyster with a toothpick.
During a break at the halfway point, presenters huddled around the doughnut table, some trading notes on their groups. I discovered the flight attendants were not faring well in their presentation. Earlier I learned nobody signed up for Douglas County School District Superintendent District John Soderman’s job description.
I did have several engaged students. Eyes brightened with details of our access to celebrities and sports (with a press pass), wildfires (with a yellow fire retardant shirt, green pants and other standard garb) and dinner buffets (with the right story).
My last group was buoyed with questions from a teacher who once ran the school’s newspaper program. When she left, Shannon Porter asked if I wrote the story on the missing finger found in a San Jose Wendy’s Restaurant bowl of chili.
I didn’t. Still, talk revolved around the partial pointer.
“That was the best story ever,” Porter said.
-William Ferchland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org