Earlier this month, each member of the 7th grade class at Lincoln Middle School (LMS) got a chance to sit down and be interviewed by a member of the community about “What is a Worthwhile Life?”
Retired teacher Claudia Flanders, who helped create the program back in 1992 when she taught at Lincoln, explained to the Mirror that the program’s “overriding theme is to unite all the disciplines.” In addition, “7th grade is a crossroads time” for students so it’s a good time for them to begin “to reflect on their future and leading a worthwhile life.” According to Flanders, the program has become a “rite of passage at Lincoln.”
Every year the school invites community members, many of who have participated before, to be part of the event. This year over 50 people, including professors, journalists, attorneys and those who work in the entertainment industry, 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 the kids’ 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 30; Why would you like your life to be like this?
Former Lincoln parent Tom Wright participated as an interviewer for the eighth time because “the level of interest that kids have in articulating who they are is astounding.” He then noted, “What is a Worthwhile Life? is not just a 7th grade question.” It’s “never too late for anyone to be honest and open about who you are.”
The students the Mirror spoke with all mentioned this was their first real interview experience. Francesca Ferra, who hopes to someday own a business, said the process taught her “how to prepare for an interview” and made her begin “to think about a career.”
Gregory Boehn noted that before the project, “I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do when I’m older, but now I’ve got an even better idea.” He wants to be a stand-up comedian, and “hopes I was funny during the interview.”
Marci LeGagnoux recommended that other kids her age go through this process “if they aren’t sure what career they want.”
“Now, I’ll know what to do at a job interview because I got to see what an interview feels like,” stated Antonio Aranda who wants to be a veterinarian.
Arash Assar, who wants to be a physician, believes, “When I open my project notebook in 30 years it will feel like each piece is part of who I am.” The project also caused me to “think differently about life” because “now, I have new goals ahead of me.”