Samantha Pochet - Grade 7, Miami Valley School
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” - John Bunyan.
I keep this quote with me often. I keep it with me when I see people with no home on the side of the road and give them the money I have with me. I keep it with me when I teach first-graders how to spell the word “wonderful” at my house. But more importantly, I kept this quote with me over spring break. The General Electric (GE) EPISCENTER near the University of Dayton was having a week-long workshop for disadvantaged children from a school downtown. The interns that worked for GE at the time, along with other employees that were helping with the program, were going to help these kids learn how to program EV3 robots.
I was asked to help with this workshop to teach the workshop participants how to program. I was surprised and delighted that they had thought of me, a student who was only in the seventh grade, to help teach programming at a major electric company facility. I agreed to help GE. There was only one catch (good opportunities always have one catch). This notorious catch was that if I decided to help at this workshop, it would take up my entire spring break. This made me think, do I really want to spend my entire spring break helping kids program? The quote popped back into my head. I decided to go help the entire week, even if it meant missing out on my spring break.
The hours were from 7:30 for me, but 8:00 for the students, and the day ended at about 4:00. The first couple of days seemed a lot longer than they were. I believe this is because I was nervous about teaching kids how to program a robot. Would I do it right? Will I miss something important? All of these thoughts were floating around in my head as I helped the kids. My fears eventually faded away and I was able to help the students learn a lot more than I thought I would be able to teach. They learned more in a week than anyone would learn in two to three. The kids in this program were smarter than they were given credit for.
Knowing that I had helped kids that wouldn’t have learned how to program without me teaching them filled me with joy. I felt like I had really made a difference in their lives and in my community. This experience will stay with me for a long time and has filled me with a desire to help people whenever I can. I am forever a changed person because of this experience and I hope that my experience will inspire people who read about it.