Earlier this month, each member of the 7th grade class at Lincoln Middle School got a chance to sit down and be interviewed by a member of the community about “What is a Worthwhile Life?”
Assistant Principal Carl Hobkirk told the Mirror, “A team of humanities teachers came up with the idea 14 years ago” to start a 13-year-old thinking about how to lead a worthwhile life. Every year the school invites community members, many of whom have participated before, to be part of the event. This year about 30 people including School Board members, Santa Monica City College instructors, local business owners, journalists and others were interviewers.
Each student got a chance to respond to eight questions asked by the interviewer and then the interviewer evaluated their interview. The interview was not only evaluated in terms of their responses but also how each student presented themselves in terms of attire, posture, clear speaking voice and other parameters. The students prepared for the interviews ahead of time as part of their “Who Am I” project. Some of the questions included:
Discuss skills and attitudes you have developed at school that will help you lead a worthwhile life.
What in your view, is the most pressing problem facing the future of your generation?
What steps are you currently taking, big or small, to solve problems?
How do you see yourself when you are thirty?
Why would you like your life to be like this?
Gale Williams, who is retired from the banking industry, has been an interviewer for many years. Said Williams, “These are the kinds of questions adults should be asking themselves about on a regular basis throughout their lives.” To him, this event helps the students “set [and define] goals for a worthwhile life.”
The Mirror also spoke with several students after their interview. Eliel Ford mentioned it “really prepares you for job interviews in the future. It opens your eyes to questions you haven’t thought of before.”
Another student, J.S. Dutoit, had some advice about interviews by stating, “Don’t be shy. Just express your feelings.”
Jasmine Jafari noted, “A lot of people don’t think about what they do with their life. Half the people who don’t ask themselves questions like these don’t even finish school or get a job.”
Assistant principal Hobkirk sums up the project: “so cool that a 13-year-old now has a positive view of an interview.”