April 16, 2011 by Marcin.Wilczek
Another Saturday and another chance at challenging stereotypes about middle-schoolers perpetrated by my generation.
You see in Poland there’s a pretty livid image of 15-year-olds wasting their time away in front of the computer while life speeds away outside of their CRT (or more like LCD) illuminated room. Apparently, they focus more on their MMORPG characters and online friends than they do on those in their closest environment. Maybe some do, but that’s definitely not the case when it comes to the young people work with.
I was asked a while back by one of the students to chaperone their fundraising efforts to acquire money needed for their class trip to Ukraine. I could not refuse, and found myself helping out in their drive this very morning [see poster here]. I was greeted by a group of 19 volunteers(3 of whom were high school students), and none of them were at all like the mental picture we seem to have of them. Well organized, with heads full of ideas how to (legally) obtain funds, they got straight to work packing even the heaviest of groceries onto carts and, in the rare occasion, into the trunks of customer cars. This was accompanied by the rhythmic bang of coins hitting coins and the swish of the rare bill (or note as the Brits would have it) landing in their collection jar. By the time I left, they hd already collected a hefty sum, and they were still two hours from finishing.
But what surprised me the most was the eagerness they showed to solve their own problems. They were nowhere near the immature, lazy and irresponsible children some of my contemporaries imagine them to be. They were, in a sense, the embodiment of what every educator imagines as the perfect graduate – mature, well-organized and indeed responsible. Good job, team! In my books, you already more than deserve the trip to Lwów!