Everyday Boston goes to school!

Last week, we had an awesome opportunity: We got to work with the middle school students at Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy’s Lower Mills campus in Dorchester. It was our first time bringing Everyday Boston into the classroom, and it was just plain inspiring.

Students reviewing and making notes in their Everyday Boston interview guides.

We had long discussions with the students about the impact of stereotypes on their lives and on society, and the power of individual stories to break those stereotypes down. Then we practiced the critical “soft skills” that interviewing teaches: everything from close listening to follow-up questions to how to introduce yourself and interact with people you don’t know.

Finally, days before their school year ended, the students put those skills to work in one-on-one interviews with members of the community and staff at the school.

They came up with their own questions- and the questions went deep:

“Tell me about the last time you cried.”

“Tell me about a time you were really angry at someone and you didn’t forgive them.”

“Who helped you to grow the most in life?”

“Tell me about a time when you made the wrong decision.”

“Tell me about the most exciting time in your life.”

“Tell me about a time when you wanted to take revenge and you didn’t.”

Jason, pictured above, interviewed his science teacher, Kim Roëll, and couldn’t stop smiling when he was done. That’s when he said those words we love so much:

“It was like an adventure in my mind!”

McKinley, at right, interviews Alex Bezek, Teen Director of the Dorchester YMCA.

Thanks so much to all 48 fantastic students who participated and pushed themselves in the pilot program; to their inspiring guidance counselor, Ashley Jackson, who coordinated the week; to their terrific teachers, Kim Roëll, Audrey Price, Nicole Ricko, and Rhonda Eaton; to their visionary principal, Lisa Warshafsky; to the wonderful volunteers who gave up their morning to be interviewed and generously share their stories; and last but not least, to Kevin Ballen, Executive Director of ENGAGE Boston, for his partnership and support in making this and countless other civic engagement opportunities available to Boston youth.

NOTE: If you know of a community group (youth or otherwise) that would enjoy and benefit from learning how to interview- with the possibility of publishing some of the stories on our website- please email cara@everydayboston.org. We’ve got the time this summer to do more! And we can’t wait to get started.