I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb
Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website
each week and be added to the archives.
The Articles started December 2007.
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Middle schoolers opine on future
By Barry Schrader.................................April
as they reach their 20s. It was impressive to read the
top-judged papers and realize what these young people have on
their minds about the decade ahead.
What is the future for our children and grandchildren, and
will they face the same challenges and world problems we do today?
An essay contest with the theme of How my generation will
make a difference in 2020 brought out some enlightening
predictions among local middle-school students who took the time
to write about it.
The competition was sponsored
by Oak Crest DeKalb Area Retirement Center and three residents
Ruth Brown, Marylou Getschman and Jane Helmchen
judged the writings of 109 students with vastly different opinions
about what a their world will be like
Judges Ruth Brown, Marylou Getschman and Jane Helmchen with
winner Anna McComb
winner Anna McComb read her paper at the March 23 award night
with her teacher, JoAnn Burton of Indian Creek Middle School,
present. Annas paper was titled Can our generation
change the economy in 2020? I would like to share some
of her observations.
She opens with the statement,
We are the want generation. I want a phone. I want an iPod.
I want more clothes. We want so many things we do not need.
This is pretty perceptive for a preteen who is bombarded daily,
even hourly, by all the advertising messages about what they
should have to make them happy and popular.
explained that a lot of this is unnecessary and how it is better
to save. She also wrote about bills household bills, insurance,
medical bills and credit cards. Then she painted a scenario:
Youre an adult, a parent, with a good job, a good
house. Then one day your boss tells you that the company is losing
money and you are laid off. She follows this by explaining
how it could force people to move to a smaller house and
try to find whatever job you can.
some sound financial advice to everyone, she wrote, We
can save our money and try not to buy the things we dont
really need. She also talked about not buying the big-name
brand clothes, using coupons at the supermarket and something
as simple as turning the heat down and eating at home more instead
of spending so much eating out.
She tackled the
problem of too much credit card debt and suggested maybe not
even using them, just spending cash when possible. Financial
counselors have been telling adults these things for years, but
how many of us listen? I think Anna could have a future as a
financial adviser, or at the very least, will be a good influence
on her generation when they inherit our financial burdens down
Second-place winner Jonathon Farnsworth,
also from Indian Creek, took a broader approach to looking at
the world in 2020. He talked about technology that is portrayed
by Hollywood today but may become reality. He was very perceptive
in discussing advances in medicine, listing stem cell research,
growing new organs and being more aware of eating habits
and regular exercise. He sees a trend toward more jobs
in technology. Sadly, but maybe accurately, he wrote, As
the demand for oil goes up there may be wars over the remaining
supplies. He later concluded that our culture may
tend to be more violent and defensive as we go through war.
I wonder how much that their visions of the future
are colored by the TV evening news or online reports of todays
latest crisis. We can only hope their teachers and parents can
provide a balance in their outlook, and give them a vision for
a brighter future as they help mold it.
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115