I love when my career in journalism gets me out of my home office for a few hours or so.
Yesterday I had the pleasure and honor to interview over 20 high school students from the Rosa Parks School of Performing Arts in Paterson, NJ, for two articles to go online at the Paterson Press.
The Rosa Parks students had a lot to be excited about. One group was going to Maryland to compete in the History Day finalists. The other group were finalists in the MSG Varsity Talent Show, a cable TV show covering the tri-state area.
And they were excited to meet a reporter for the Paterson Press (me!)
Little did they know, I was just as excited to meet them. I interviewed over 20 kids in two hours. These kids were good, polite, fun, charming and inspiring. If I had to interview 40 of them in four hours for half the money, I would do it in a heartbeat!
At the end of the interview, they all lined up to shake my hand. These kids stole my heart!
Finally, as I was getting to leave, one of the teachers asked if I could stay just a few minutes longer, as one student was running late and was “so excited” to be interviewed. Of course!
And a few minutes later, a sweet girl named Clarice was all set for her interview. She had high hopes about winning the history competition because she said the winners would get to meet the president Obama.
I said, “Oh wow, that’s great! I had a dream that I met Obama last night!”
She said, “Tell me your name. If I meet him, I’ll tell him about you!”
Now that was priceless!
After the interview, I thanked her and asked if she could show me how to “get out of here.” (Why are schools so hard to navigate?)
Clarice led the way and as we were walking she asked me if I liked journalism. I said that I loved it, especially when I get to interview students. I added that I was a journalist since 1995. And Clarice told me that was the year she was born.
I said, “Then that was a GOOD year!”
Of course I didn’t tell her that the year started off as the worst year of my life. That was the year my beloved grandmother passed away. A few months later when I had my first article published in a magazine, I told a friend, “I wish my grandmother was alive to see this!” (As she ALWAYS encouraged my writing talent!)
My friend replied, “Well who do you think is making this happen for you?”
So, 1995, my grandmother died and a baby was born. A baby who grew up to be a lovely young lady, smart enough to make it to the History Day finalists.
My grandmother would be proud of her too.
My grandmother had a wonderful attitude about growing old and death. She always said, “You have to make way for the next generation.”
And what a generation it is! God bless the Rosa Park High School students!