The fifth and sixth-grade students of 907 Bobcats in Anchorage, Alaska know how to keep themselves busy creating products like greeting cards, floral arrangements, beeswax wraps, and kindness rocks. But their teacher, Linda Hulen, knows the importance of getting students outside the four walls of the classroom. Linda and her students recently took a trip to the local rotary to share their ideas and business plans with a new audience. Read on to hear students reflect on presentation-jitters, facing the unfamiliar, and making small talk!
Rotary Club Reflection
By Ellen, Maya + Mayla
We didn’t know what to expect, as we made our way to the South Anchorage Rotary. We expected a fancy club, with people to welcome us. After our 15-minute bus ride, we stepped off the bus, and entered a doorway that said “Aladdin’s Mediterranean Restaurant.” Expectations were already proving to be wrong. There was an amazing smell of shrimp pasta and Mediterranean foods. We all licked our lips as we went downstairs and we met with four small round tables and thought surely this can’t be the right place.
We were hesitant at first but sat down at a table with other Rotarians who looked about our parent’s age. They were taking big bites of their food and it smelled like Heaven. All we could think about is how if we were at school, we would also be eating lunch. But for now, we were too nervous about our presentation to eat.
Enough Small Talk!
Our classmate, Jada, whispered to us, “We should say something!” We nodded. Well, here goes nothing. “Hello, how are you today?” one of us said loudly. They paused and stopped chewing their food. They shot a quick look at us before rolling their eyes and continuing to talk. All four girls had to stop ourselves from laughing out loud.
We kept trying and we changed our greeting slightly to “Hi, would you like to hear about our business?” We told them about 907 Bobcats. There was a pause of awkward silence and then one of them asked if they could see the candle that I was fiddling with.
I told him, “I made it for 907 Bobcats. It’s a beeswax scented candle.” I felt very proud of myself after that.
All of a sudden a lady asked everyone to rise for the pledge of allegiance, just like we do every morning at school. When that was over a tall man lead everyone in a song of prayer. We tried to keep up and sing the words but it was hard because we didn’t know it so we just mumbled words just to be polite. Up next, it was time for our presentation to begin.
There are 7 groups of students that make up 907 Bobcats. Another student, Addie, put together our 17-slide powerpoint presentation so that we could each present our business, products, and mission statement. It was Maya’s turn. She took the mic from her classmate, with a shaky hand. Once Maya took a last look at the script she prepared, she knew everything there was to say. She knew about the ingredients and the wax dye and the cost of it.
In that moment, Maya’s nerves calmed down and she flew through the rest of our presentation like it was no big deal.
Finally, it was time to say thank you and go sit back down. In the end, we expected applause yet none was offered. We awkwardly shuffled back to our seats.
A man in the back raised his hand and said he was a professional auctioneer. He offered to auction off any products we had brought with us. Luckily, we had brought a beeswax wrap, a scented candle, a flower arrangement, and a sugar scrub. We brought the items thinking that we would give them away for free! He began right away with the beeswax wrap and everything else was moving at lightning speed. “Okay we got a twenty…any twenty-fives… okay we got a twenty-five… we got any thirties?” We were blown away at the speed of his voice! He was selling a $5 sugar scrub for $40! By the end, we had made $205.
None of knew what to expect, but we all had a good time and it was very interesting and we learned a lot. It gave our class a chance to use our public speaking and to show what our business is all about. We would really like to do it again sometime.