Over the last two days, Eva and Ian have been quite busy talking to students about following their passions. It’s been a wonderful experience, sharing dreams, meeting people, and honing public speaking skills. In this post, I’m going to report on Day 1. But the two days were so different from each other; I hope you’ll come back for the post on Day 2 as well.
Thursday: 6th Grade Career Day
Each year, our school district hosts a Career Day for 6th graders. On one day in February and one day in March, over 800 students attend this event, which is held at the local armory. Tables are strewn across the armory’s floor, each stationed by a representative of a particular career. I saw a paramedic, a vet, professor, artist, wildlife biologist, cosmetologist, and a dozen or so more. Each table has about a dozen chairs spread out before it, and the kids (200+ per session) are instructed to play a game of musical chairs. They go to a table that has interest for them and listen to a 15 minute presentation about that career. If the chairs are full, they move on until they find some empty seats. They get to do this five times before going back to their schools. In the afternoon, another group of 200+ comes and does it all over again.
Though the tables are exclusively hosted by adult professionals, last month the event coordinator asked if Ian and Eva would each host a table and talk to the students about being a musician and author, respectively. Ian did this last year, but it was a first for Eva. It’s an exciting but grueling lineup. Ten presentations in one day! They were honored to participate.
For the last two weeks, English class has been speech preparation. The kids outlined their points and practiced their speeches. We wanted to give students a positive example of what they could accomplish now – as kids – if they put their minds to it. The purpose of their speeches is to inspire others to believe in themselves and pursue their passions as courageous individuals; the kids do this by offering examples of their own experiences.
We were all a bit jittery the night before, but when the big day came, it was a blast. Eva and Ian, in consecutive booths, began their speeches as the first kids filed in. Once they finished their presentations, they opened up their time to answer questions from the students. As you might imagine, there were a lot questions about their ages and homeschooling, but there were also a lot of questions about craft – especially as it related to writing and music. I stayed primarily with Eva, since she’s still newer to this than Ian, but I did a lot of pacing back and forth.
We took a long lunch break and reviewed the ups and downs of the morning, tweaking a little here and there. Since there were so many presentations, it was easy to review what worked and what needed adjustment.
After lunch, we did it all again. Ian was developing a sore throat, and Eva was feeling pretty tired, but they both persevered. Eva felt like her best presentations were in that second group. Though she looked to me for assistance several times during the morning, she was completely independent in the afternoon.
We came home and made hot chocolate chip cookies and played a round of Munchkin. ‘Cuz you know how we love that Munchkin game. After that full day, we were all just ready to chill out for the afternoon.
All in all, Eva and Ian each presented to 10 different groups – that’s about 135 kids apiece. I was amazed by how many kids in these groups were writers and musicians themselves. Those kids in particular seemed to really connect with Ian and Eva, asking questions that could help them promote their own passions.
That was the best part of it, for me: kids inspiring each other to follow their own dreams. So thankful for that opportunity, and looking toward many more to come.
Don’t forget to stay tuned for Day #2!