The staff here at the Daily Post gets a lot of requests during the school year to speak to students of all ages. We enjoy getting a chance to see the schools, talk to the kids and tell them a little about our profession. And, who knows, maybe even encourage a few to be journalists.
It makes for a fun day, but those of us who have made more than a few appearances know you have to be on your toes. Kids ask some good, and oftentimes tough, questions.
They don't mind being direct, which can sometimes put you on the spot. But it's fun to witness such unbridled curiosity, and enjoyable to address groups that have a genuine interest in what we do.
Earlier this year, sports editor Will Hammock and I spoke to a group of fifth-graders at Brookwood Elementary School. We recently received a package of thank-you letters from those students, which proved they can be both fun and funny.
The No. 1 question asked in the letters was what do we do when the electricity goes out. They all liked the fact that Will gets to go to games for free and several said they'd like to be photographers. All the letters had nice sentiments and good artwork, and some included lines that brought a smile to my face and begged to be shared.
Like: "It's cool and interesting how you got to be in the Gwinnett Daily Post, but my legs starting hurting during the questions. But thanks again for coming."
And: "You inspired me to be a newspaper photographer. It seems more fun than being a lawyer."
My size may have inspired this one: "Have you ever been a professional football player?"
And the 24/7 news cycle prompted the following: "You work from early in the morning to late at night. Do you ever have time to take showers, go to the store, go on vacation?"
At least I hope it was the news cycle, and not something else, that led to the shower question.
For those of you wondering who young folks look up to these days, I offer this excerpt: "If I became an interviewing person, I would interview my hero, Adam Sandler."
Then there was the issue of longevity. In August, I'll have worked at the Daily Post for 15 years and have been in the newspaper business for 20. Will has worked at the Daily Post for 13 years, numbers that seemed to overwhelm at least one student:
"Now that you've come to talk to us, I think I want to be a news person. But I'm not sure I want to do it as long as you two. I mean, 13 to 20 years? But I most definitely want to do it, at least for a month."
There are some months that feel like a year, but I think I can speak for Will and say that neither of us have too many complaints. We'd like to keep doing our jobs for years to come, which is why I'll conclude with the following sentiment:
"I hope you prosper with your job a long time."
Amen, my friend.
E-mail Todd Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Wednesdays.