If you've ever seen me speak in public, like at a wedding, you know three things:
- I get really nervous.
- I usually drink as much as possible before the speech.
- I then deliver a somewhat funny speech that lasts way too long.
And then I started telling little stories. Instead of telling boring facts about my school, I talked about some of my experiences with students. If you read this blog (which I guess you do), you know the kinds of stories I was going for. And the amazing thing was the audience actually got into it. They started laughing. With me. I didn't say too much, but when I finished, a couple of people actually applauded. Going back to my seat, one of the reps, a football coach, said, "Wow, that was great."
We then went to the gym, where our displays were up. And as the students and parents walked in, they walked right past me and straight to the magnet schools. Darn.
Eventually, though, some came back.
One Latino dad, with his cute wife and daughter, came over. "Your speech was really, really great," he said. "Thank you."
"Well, thank you," I said. "Do you have any questions?"
"Yes. My daughter is in seventh grade right now. I wonder, what can we do," he said, pointing at himself and his wife, "to get her ready for high school?"
At first, I thought that was a cool question. So I talked about making sure she keeps her grades up and researching all these high schools, checking out web sites, visiting, that kind of thing. But then the question sunk in. He was really asking so much more. He's probably an immigrant, most likely did not attend high school or university in the States, and he wants help. My help. Like I know how to raise kids. Like I even know anything about the different high schools and options.
"Well," I said, finishing up. "I think you're already doing everything right. You're interested. You want what's best for her. Just keep doing that. Make sure she knows you support her, that you love her. And you want what's best for her, so that's why it's important to you who she hangs out with and whether or not she's doing her homework."
And I looked at the girl. "And you need to always remember that your parents want you to succeed. So listen to them."
They left. The other reps started packing up. I did a quick count. Gave away nine or ten of my school's folders.