By Mary-Justine Lanyon
The importance of an education. How to present yourself at a job interview. Proper time management. Setting smart goals.
Those were all part of the Choices program presented recently to the freshman English classes at Rim of the World High School by members of the Mountain Sunrise Rotary Club.
The two-day program stresses the importance of the choices the students make today and how those choices can affect them for many years to come.
The average age of retirement today, Geoff Hopper told the students, is 65. “For your generation, it will be 75 or 80.
“The magic number when most of the decisions are made affecting your life is 14 or 15,” he added. “You are starting to make major decisions.”
He warned them about what they post on social media. “Companies spend big bucks to dig through social media. Be careful – a potential employer or school may look at what you post.”
The students reviewed cards listing 30 factors that make up who a person is. They learned that they have control over about half of them. “Which one is the most important?” Hopper asked. The answer was self-discipline.
Through a game where three students portrayed a high school dropout, a high school graduate and a person with education beyond high school, the class discovered just how important education can be. The person with education beyond high school was eligible for a job that paid three times as much as the high school dropout was able to earn.
So, what do you have to do to get a job? Davis Hopper played the part of a candidate while three students interviewed him. He did everything wrong – he slumped in his chair, chewed gum, checked his phone for messages and told the “interviewers” he wanted to learn so he could take over one of their jobs.
“Who would hire me?” he asked the students. “I may be the best welder in the world but you will remember the way I presented myself.
Geoff Hopper then took the class through a time management exercise. Everyone has 24 hours available to them in a day. “The issue is what you do with them,” he said. Certain things, he noted, are not optional – like going to school. Those were represented by big rocks. Other things have flexibility and can be rescheduled – like doing chores. Those were represented by gravel. And some things are totally optional – like playing video games. Those were represented by sand.
Hopper had three volunteers fill a container first with rocks, then gravel, then sand to show that everything could be accommodated if planned out properly.
The students played a final game, led by Davis Hopper, showing the consequences of making certain decisions. What if you’re supposed to be studying and a friend calls, inviting you to a party? How do you handle being bullied?
In each instance, Hopper noted, “you can make a choice that’s more fun but, in the back of your mind, you think you should do something more difficult.”
The talk then turned to setting SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely.
Geoff Hopper asked the students to take a deep breath, close their eyes and pretend it’s 10 years in the future. “Where are you going to be at 25? What goals do you want to accomplish?” Then he told them to fill out the SMART goals sheet, which was theirs to keep and look at in 10 years. “See how close you come to the goals you set now,” he told them.
“Don’t just let things happen to you,” Hopper cautioned. “Don’t just react. Plan step by step.”
Other members of Mountain Sunrise Rotary who conducted the Choices program were Rick Miller, Laura Dyberg, Michelle French, Don Lupear and Dave Kelly.