My talk with fifth-graders

Aug. 05, 2013 @ 12:17 PM

As a kid, you often hear that you are the future of America. Well, I did my fair share of helping the future by visiting Easley Elementary School and talking to a group of fifth-grade students about writing and what it takes to be a good writer.
Last Friday at roughly noon I made my way to Mrs. Owens’ fifth-grade class to talk to a group of very smart individuals. They welcomed me and allowed me to talk to them about the art and science that is writing.
I opened by talking about myself, how I started writing, and what it takes to a good writer. My advice to them was to write about what you are passionate about and to keep trying even if your first attempt is turned down. I had to explain that during the school year writing for the school newspaper that there were some stories that I had to rewrite a story four or five times before it was considered finished.
The class’s questions and comments were very well thought-out and educated. They had good questions, and I had the answers that they needed. After sitting there and listening to me talk about writing, they started to stray from the path and started to ask questions that were not quite related to the topic, but were still very smart, and at points quite funny.
They asked about everything from writing to who inspired me to do I play video games. I was also asked what grade I was in a good four or five times. But, they were not short of questions at all.
The class also seemed very interested in college and they asked many questions about what college I would be going to. While, there is no answer to the question yet, I did explain that there are several schools that are very strong journalism schools, such as North Carolina and Syracuse. To me the school I go to is not that big of a deal. Sure I would love to go to a really good Division I school, but I don’t have a preference just yet.
After talking for half an hour, it was very clear that I had lost them and they started asking about music, movies, and miscellaneous topics. I definitely expected it to come to this, and I’m glad I didn’t have to embarrass my brother in front of every one of his classmates. As, I ended I was bombarded by the kids and asked if I knew so-and-so because they go to Riverside too.
I did stay to have lunch with my brother and some of his friends. I was thanked by Mrs. Owens and I was on my way back to my house before I went to work at Riverside for the afternoon. From what I saw while I was at Easley, the class seemed intrigued and surprised to see that a kid like me at the age of 15 can do what he does. They seemed very excited and I say thank you the Mrs. Owens’ fifth-grade class for letting me come in and spill out all that I know to help you with what you hope to accomplish in the future.
Ben Huffman is a rising sophomore at Riverside High School. To reach him, email