ONCE A YEAR, I hang out with Mike Terry at John Wood Community College. He teaches a writing class and the students have an assignment - interview somebody and write a short story.
I was in two of Mike's classes Wednesday morning and it was a great experience, as always. The students are respectful and they have good questions. The assignment isn't that hard, and my advice is to keep it simple and to make sure you take enough time to write a good story.
I hope the students realize "interview" is just a fancy word for talking, or having a conversation.
In engaging the students, I realized there are great stories walking the hallways of JWCC.
One older student is from Africa. How did he end up in Quincy? He said it's a long story. I guarantee you it's interesting.
There were several baseball players in the classes. They had two teammates killed in a car wreck not far from campus last fall. How are they coping with it as the season looms? Wow .... hard to imagine.
One student is from the East Coast. Again, how did she end up here? She said she was eight months pregnant and homeless when she came to Quincy. Her life is back on track. She wants to move home and become a police officer. Sounds like she's been to the brink and back.
Another older student said she went back to school because she was "tired of working in the factory." That takes a lot of courage and it can't be easy, sitting in a room full of people about half her age.
Then there's Mike. Nobody has taught at JWCC longer. He cares about his students. His classes are always popular and overflowing. He gets it. He rocks.
And you don't have to look far to find great stories.