Friday, April 22, 2016

The Kids Are Alright

Once again this year, yesterday I got to do one of my favorite things at one of my favorite places.  

Every year, the faculty of Towson High School (my dear old alma mater) conducts interviews for the junior class.  The topic? Nothing specific.  The point is to familiarize students with the process of being interviewed for college and/or job applications, which they will all deal with presently.

I get invited to participate every year and I really enjoy it. The students file into the library as we sit at tables, and are assigned randomly to an interviewer for a 15-minute back-and-forth.  I ask the kids the usual questions common to all interviews: where do you wish to be in ten years, and what would you like to be doing? you plan to go to college (which one)?...what is the most interesting thing about you?

And I always make sure to ask the student what is on his or her mind...what are the issues that concern them, and what do they think they can do to make it a better world?

And I get magnificent, well-reasoned answers that almost seem as if they had 24 hours to think things through.  I mean, here they are, dressed up in professional attire, sitting with a man who stuns them by saying, "You know, I was graduated from Towson High in 1969..." (just after the Pleistocene Era) and they mainly stay poised and confident, presenting us with resumes and their best feet forward.

One young man out of the fifteen I talked with failed to have a resume to give me, proffering the 2016 version of "The dog ate it" ("My printer is broken.")  I pointed that if there were a sure prize of $10,000 given just for having a printed resume, he doggone sure would have found a way to get his printed. This is the sort of cunning logic that made me so very popular among people I supervised over the years.

But he was the only one who let me down in any way.  I can't even bristle too much about the young man who misspelled "Calculus" on  his resume on his list of Advanced Placement classes, since I was as big a stranger to calculus or any advanced math as Gwyneth Paltrow is at a buffet.

And let me tell you something else. These kids, given a chance to talk about what issues are important to the world, mentioned unchecked diseases and viruses, the need to make life affordable for the middle class, gun violence, climate change, poverty, hunger and the need to supply decent living conditions for all.

No one mentioned that we have to build walls to keep people from other countries or faiths away, or that every person who doesn't look, sound or act just like us wishes us dead, and not a one of them seemed to be losing sleep over which toilet a transgendered person can use.

I feel better every year after we do this!  

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