A photo of a girl of about ten years old wearing large headphones and speaking into a studio microphone in a the Yoncalla school library.

Talking with Kids about Success

This episode of The Detour explores what kids think about success and where their ideas about success come from. The way we explore this is pretty simple: we talk with kids—second, fifth, and sixth graders from Vose Elementary in Beaverton and Yoncalla Elementary—who have some really helpful, clear, thought-provoking, and moving stuff to say. 

Show Notes

This episode was coproduced in partnership with The Children's Institue, an organization working to improve oucomes for Oregon kids. You can learn more about their work here.

Leave us a voice message! What do the kids in your life think about success? Record them telling us on your phone and send it to the detour@oregonhumanities.org. We might include it in our next episode. 

More on kids and education from Oregon Humanities

  • Read "Unstable Connections" by Albany high school student Caroline Gao on how online school during the pandemic led her to begin researching digital access and inequities.
  • Revisit Episode 12 of The Detour featuring a conversation with Caroline Gao as well as students from Encore Academy in Warrenton. 
  • "A Remedy for Disruption" is an essay by Chelsea King on mask mandates, school board meetings, and the importance of presence.



Oryah Grimes: Well, you don't have to be the best at it to do it, but as long as you like it, you should probably keep doing it.

Adam Davis: Hello, and welcome to The Detour. I'm Adam Davis, and I'm pretty far from childhood. I remember parts of it and forget much more of it. Among the stuff I don't remember clearly, maybe because I didn't think much about it clearly when I was young, is how and when, as a kid, I developed a sense of what it was to do well or good in the world—what it was to be successful by my standards or the standards of those around me.

I remember wanting the approval of a coach or two, wanting to be in the starting lineup rather than on the bench, wanting to do well enough at school that my teachers and parents wouldn't come down on me for not doing well. I remember encountering people in books and sometimes in person who seemed to be really good at one thing or another, and sometimes they just seemed to be really good at being people. But on the whole, I'm not sure what I thought about all this as a kid, and where and how my younger thinking about it came from. 

This episode of The Detour explores that: the question of what kids think about success and where their ideas about success come from. The way we explore this is pretty simple: We talk with kids—second, fifth, and sixth graders from Vose Elementary and Yoncalla Elementary who have some really helpful, clear, thought-provoking, and moving stuff to say. 

Drive a couple blocks north of Eagle Valley Supply and Jeremy McDaniel Auto Repair on Eagle Valley Road, and then go west on First Avenue toward Yoncalla Community Park, and you'll find Yoncalla Elementary School. It's south of Drain and north of Rice Hill, and even further north of Roseburg. When I parked in early February by the water tower and walked down the small hill toward the school office, all the kids were lined up out front, approaching the end of a rocket demonstration. A few wore lab coats and goggles. There was a lot of laughter, some high fives as the kids walked back into school.

Raphael and I set up our stuff in small chairs and a small table in the corner of the library, poked our head into a few classes to explain what we were doing and see who might be interested in talking. And then Erin Helgren, Yoncalla Elementary's principal, brought students in one at a time to put on the large headphones and speak into the large mic.

At the end, you'll hear from Erin and from Brian Berry, the superintendent of the Yoncalla School District, about their hopes that many of the kids you'll hear from will stay and create a stronger Yoncalla.

All right, so can we get started just by, would you tell us your name and what grade you're in? 

Oryah Grimes: I'm Oryah Grimes, and I'm in sixth grade. 

Adam Davis: So Oryah, when you hear the word success, What words come to your mind? 

Oryah Grimes: A+ and studying. 

Adam Davis: . And what does the word studying feel like for you? 

Oryah Grimes: A lot of work. And paying attention in class.

Adam Davis: . Is that something that you feel like is easy for you? Difficult? 

Oryah Grimes: Well, I'm not the best at studying at home, but I'm really good at paying attention in class. 

Adam Davis: . Are there things, so you just said that you're really good at paying attention in class. Are there things you most hope to be good at?

Oryah Grimes: I really like math, so I'm hoping I'll be good at math in the future. And I'm not the best at reading, so I hope I grow my reading skills. 

Adam Davis: . Do you have a sense of what it would take to grow your reading skills? 

Oryah Grimes: Reading harder books with harder words. 

Adam Davis: . Have you read any books lately? That you've liked?

Oryah Grimes: Yeah, I've been reading a couple series, but one of 'em is The Babysitters Club

Adam Davis: Oh yeah. Do you ever think about like twenty years down the road, thirty years down the road, things you hope you're good at then? 

Oryah Grimes: I do think about myself in the future, but I don't hold too many dreams, because some of 'em might not come true. Just like my sister, she hoped to be a mother, but she passed before that could happen. 

Adam Davis: That's, sorry.

Oryah Grimes: It's okay. But I do hope I could be a dog trainer. 

Adam Davis: A dog trainer, huh? And do you have a dog? 

Oryah Grimes: Yes, I actually have five, five dogs, 

Adam Davis: So you may already be a dog trainer. 

Oryah Grimes: Not the best at training, but I like hanging out with the dogs.

Adam Davis: Okay. That's interesting what you just said about like the difference between liking hanging out with the dogs and maybe not being the best at a thing. Do you feel like it's important to be the best at the thing or is it, is it okay to just like doing the thing? 

Oryah Grimes: Well, you don't have to be the best at it to do it, but as long as you like it, you should probably keep doing it.

Adam Davis: . Are there people you've gotten to know in this school? That have helped you sort of grow towards the, the kind of person you, you imagine yourself being? 

Tianna: Yeah, my teacher, Ms. Chlo and some of my classmates. 

Adam Davis: How do they do that? 

Tianna: Well, some of my classmates encouraged me to do stuff and that helps me with my confidence.

Oryah Grimes:

And Ms. Chula helps me learn more about math and reading. 

Adam Davis: Do you feel like you have any questions about related to success? 

Tianna: I always wonder if success always means you have to be happy in success, but I'm pretty sure that not all the success has to be happy. 

Adam Davis: . Yeah. And maybe I wonder if the opposite is also true.

Maybe not all happiness depends on success, or something like that. 

Oryah Grimes: Yeah. 

Adam Davis: Oryah, thank you for talking with us. 

Oryah Grimes: Yeah. It's so much fun hanging out around people who do all this kind of fun stuff that people see around the world. Huh. 

Adam Davis: Cool. Great. That's a great way to say that too. Awesome. Thank you. 

Oryah Grimes: Have a good day.

Adam Davis: All right, you too, Oryahura. Good to meet you. 

Hey, just to get started, would you just tell us your name and the grade you're in? 

Cece: I'm Cece and I'm in sixth grade. 

Adam Davis: All right. Are there things these days in sixth grade where you're like, I really want to be good at this? 

Cece: I really wanna be good at playing the piano.

I, I'm okay at it, but I really like it and it's fun for me to play and I really enjoy that. 

Adam Davis: What do you think it takes to, like you said you really enjoy it and it sounds like you're trying to improve at it. What do you think it takes to improve? 

Cece: Perseverance and doing it every day and practicing is what makes you better at it.

Adam Davis: Huh. And do you, where do you get the drive to do it every day? Where does that come from? 

Cece: Well, my dad is a musician and he really loves piano. He has a, we have a big seven foot grand piano. So he like, He'll have us play it every day just to learn. And it's fun. 

Adam Davis: Okay. And then here at school, in your sixth grade class, can I ask you like what makes for a good sixth grade class?

Cece: Well, listening often is a good thing for a class in general and, well, paying attention, persevering. Doing the work and trying.

Adam Davis: You ever think like twenty, thirty years down the road, are there things you most hope you're really good at? 

Cece: Yes, I would be. I would like to be really good at just being social. I'm not very social in general, so I want to get better at my social skills. 

Adam Davis: Uhhuh, how do you do that? 

Cece: Socialize. 

Adam Davis: Okay. Once you figured that one out, will you let me know? Cuz I'm still working on it also. 

Cece: Okay. 

Adam Davis: So I would appreciate the help there. 

Emily: My name's Emily. I'm in sixth grade. 

Adam Davis: In sixth grade. All right. You know, I mentioned in the classroom that other people will be listening to this. If you could talk to like political leaders or people that run schools, what do you think you would want to tell them about what would help you learn to do other things well or do the things you do even better? 

Emily: I guess like some people kinda, like, they get frazzled sometimes when they're doing a lot of stuff. Like a lot of breaks, like not much, like maximum like two or three, that would be a little bit nice. 

Adam Davis: More breaks. 

Emily: Yeah. 

Adam Davis: I hear you. 

Emily: And like more time to hang out with your friends on like a longer. Lunch period and stuff like that. 

Adam Davis: Yeah. More lunch, more breaks, more time with friends. That all makes a lot of sense to me.

Emily: Yeah. 

Adam Davis: But maybe one last question that is, when you think like outside school and maybe even outside work, what do you think when you think about success or being a successful person, what do you think that is? 

Emily: Persevering and making sure you can do something and feel comfortable about. And whatever helps you. I had fun. Bye. 

Adam Davis: Awesome. Great. 

Tianna: My name's Tiana and I'm in fifth grade. 

Adam Davis: All right. Thanks for talking with us, Tiana. Fifth grade. When you think about fifth grade, are there things that you think fifth grade really wants you to be doing well? 

Tianna: Have a good education and focus Have fun.

Adam Davis: So have a good education focus, have fun. What does it mean to have fun for you? Like what's fun? 

Tianna: Well, normally I just like talk to my friends and stuff. 

Adam Davis: I agree with you. That's pretty fun. I like talking to my friends. What about education? How do you get good at the education stuff? 

Tianna: I focus on my work and I don't pay attention to other stuff.

Adam Davis: . Let me ask us to move away from fifth grade for a minute and like imagine yourself. When you're twenty-five or thirty, are there things you want to be good at then? 

Tianna: I wanna be good at making sure that I get stuff done, and that I don't have a bad reputation, and I'm just, I'm better at stuff than I was before. 

Adam Davis: Huh. So kinda I like that. I like the way of thinking, getting better than I was before at things. That's interesting. Are there one or two adults in your life right now that you go, huh, that person's good at something in a way that I can learn from? 

Tianna: Yeah. 

Adam Davis: Who comes to mind there?

Tianna: My dad and my mom. 

Adam Davis: What sort of stuff do you feel like "Yeah, they're good at that." 

Tianna: Well, my dad works two jobs at the door shop in the mill, and he's good at pulling through it. And like, even if he's tired, he just pulls through it. 

And my mom is always taking care of us and she doesn't really focus on herself that much. And I wanna be good at taking care of people too. 

Adam Davis: Yeah. Maybe, maybe that, maybe my last question will be, how do you think you be good at taking care of people? What do you think that requires? 

Tianna: Well, if somebody drops something, you might wanna help them pick it up, because that if sometimes if you don't, then they'll think, oh well, Those are helpful.

Adam Davis: . Yeah. When you hear the word success, do you have any questions in your head? 

Tianna: Well, maybe one, like, how am I gonna succeed and what am I gonna do to succeed? 

Adam Davis: Here's Wyatt Jones. 

Wyatt: What's your dog's favorite candy? A jawbreaker. 

Where does a fish put keep its money? In a river bank. 

Adam Davis: I see. All right. 

Wyatt: Last one is, what's the most popular fish in the Ocean? A starfish. 

Adam Davis: So can I ask you a question? 

Wyatt: Yeah. 

Adam Davis: What do you think separates a good joke from a bad joke? What makes a joke? 

Wyatt: The funniness. 

Adam Davis: The funniness. Excellent. What, what grade are you in? 

Wyatt: Second. 

Adam Davis: Second grade. What do you think makes a good second grade student? 

Wyatt: Being able to read. 

Adam Davis: Being able to read, like being able to read jokes?

Wyatt: Listening. Listening to your teacher. 

Adam Davis: So being able to read, listening to your teacher. What about anything related to other people in the. 

Wyatt: Being kind. 

Adam Davis: Being kind. Anything else come to mind? 

Wyatt: . Helping people. 

Adam Davis: Helping people. How do you learn how to do those things? 

Emily: By listening to your teacher? 

Adam Davis: You think that stuff is easy to learn or hard to learn?

Wyatt: Kind in the middle. 

Adam Davis: Kind in the middle. You got another joke over there. 

Wyatt: Yeah. How does a fish call its friend? A C phone—a shell phone! 

Adam Davis: Shell phone? You're reading really well. I just want to tell you that you're, yeah. 

Tianna: What day does a fish hate the most? Fry day. What? What's the most musical fish part? The scales.

Adam Davis: The scale

Tianna: you're listening to The Detour by Organ Humanities,

Adam Davis: So I might start with you the way we started with the students here. Can you just start by telling us your name and your role here at the school? 

Erin Helgren: My name is Erin and I am the Yoncalla Elementary principal. 

Adam Davis: Thanks. 

Brian Berry: And I'm Brian Berry. I'm the superintendent of Yoncalla School district. 

Adam Davis: Brian, how long have you been superintendent of the district?

Brian Berry: This is my seventh year and, but in Yoncalla I've been here since 1996. 

Adam Davis: 1996. And Erin, how long have you been here? 

Erin Helgren: So I have been in the community for seven years, and this is my second year as principal. 

Adam Davis: Cool. Well, so I just wanna tell you both, it has been a pleasure to be at this school and to be talking with the students at the school. It's been a beautiful day so far, and just want to thank you for that. There's so much that's in there. 

As I was getting ready for this, one thing I did was I read the Yoncalla School District priorities, and I noticed that, in one of them, the second priority, it says, "Each child will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in post-secondary education and careers and the self-reliance to be a productive citizen."

And we've been talking about success all day with students here. But Erin, maybe I could start with you. When you think of the word "success." What comes to mind? 

Erin Helgren: Well, I think, again, it will, it would depend on the context, but when I think about the students here, I think that they have the skills and the aptitudes and the belief in themselves to accomplish whatever think as successful or how they define success. And so some of our kids may go away and find careers outside of the community, but I think most of them will probably end up building a stronger Yoncalla. 

Adam Davis: Brian, what comes to mind to you for success? What pops to mind first? 

Brian Berry: Well, for me, success, I don't define success. Each student defines their own success. So my job is to make sure that they have the tools to be able to really have the best life possible, and hopefully that means moving on to, you know, post-secondary or careers and really make the community of Yoncalla even stronger than it is. What 

Adam Davis: are, I mean, you just said tools and I'm curious for both of you, what are the most important tools for that to happen?

Brian Berry: Well, for me, tools would be, you know, the ability to communicate with others to be able to step outside of the community of Yoncalla and really be able to interact and make a difference. And really for us, we've seen that through, through our Early Works program, you know, with parents and community members going up to Salem and being able to articulate the needs of a small rural community school and really, really take a look at, okay, what do we need to be successful here? And then hopefully that equates to other rural schools in Oregon. 

Erin Helgren: And I agree and would expand and say, being able to be mindful and self-aware and self soothing and how to communicate your needs how to be aware of others' needs and be empathetic. How to persevere when things are challenging and how to support your peers and working community.

Adam Davis: So how do you teach teachers and other people that work at the school to teach kids to persevere? 

Erin Helgren: The approach that I've taken at the elementary school is to create an environment where we recognize that we're all still learning and we have a lot of grace for each other. And so I find that the teachers are willing to put themselves out there and try new strategies. And my role as a leader in the building is to be attuned to their needs and to ensure that they have what they need to be successful. And what's happened is it trickles down to the classroom. So if teachers are healthy and feel supported, we have students that are healthy and feel supported.

Brian Berry: And I, I would totally agree with Erin. You know, we build, we build that culture where it's safe to be able to do something and. And failure is the in the eyes of the beholder. So, you know, just because you think you've failed at something, it just shows you that, okay, this is not the right way or necessarily the right way to do it this way again. So let's try something different and see what happens. 

Adam Davis: It's interesting cuz you use the word failure, which is a, it's a heavy word. And it's the word that goes with success in some ways. And it's one of the things that as Rafael and I have been working on this, I think I've been wondering, like, I want to get kids thinking about what it means to get good at stuff, but I don't want to reinforce ideas around success that lead also to ideas and feelings around failure that I'm not comfortable with. So, I hope that wasn't too vague or abstract. 

Erin Helgren: No, I grapple with that a lot because what I see in a community that is really rooted in compliance and obedience is that there, there is a certain fear of failing are not being successful. And so recognizing that we call 'em bumps, that there are bumps, right? There are bumps in learning and that learning requires risk. And risk requires like a certain level of failure or a certain percentage of failure, and so I've kind of extended that to the teaching staff here. Like I have teachers say, "Hey, I'm thinking about doing this." I'm like, "Try it. See what happens."

This year when we set goals, I intentionally push them to set a goal that they didn't know if they would be successful. Because I said, you know, I'm not gonna mark you lower for not meeting that goal. I want you to take a risk and I want you to try a new strategy that you haven't tried before. 

Adam Davis: So let me push that one step further. That is, to the larger school system, either to the district or to the state. Are there ways that you're in a system that either supports or makes it hard to take those kind of risks and try those kinds of things?

Brian Berry: For me, it's all about culture. And I'm glad Aaron said the piece about risks, because if your staff, if your students, if myself, if the board allows me to take risks, and you learn from those,It's never a huge, huge burden. Because they're going, oh wow, okay, here, here's what they were looking at doing. Here's the outcome. Now we got what we wanted ,the outcome, but there might have been a better way to get there. So then we just learned to do that the next time we do it. So the risk to me is part of the-- And honestly, I wish, and the state is getting there. You know, they're starting to take risks and getting better at letting us dictate what works for a small rural school as opposed to a large urban area because it's just night and day with what we do.

I mean, you know, for me, I don't know of a lot of superintendents up in Salem or Portland that are going to be cleaning out filters for the HVAC system. And that's kind of what principals and superintendents do in small rural schools. Or if somebody's sick, you know, they're the teacher or they're the cook, or they're the bus driver. That's just what you have to do because the ultimate goal, just to tie it back into the priorities, is to reach those priorities. And that's about people taking risks, making sure that students are first.

And if you're doing something that is good for kids, then we're not going to get upset about that. 

Adam Davis: It sounds like over the last few years there's been a real shift in the kind of culture of participation in the school. Is that, would you say that's what, what's led to that? How is it that you can shift culture in a school and not just in the school, but with the other people that are involved with the school? What are the most important things that you've seen contribute to that kind of shift? 

Erin Helgren: Definitely there's a link to leadership, and it takes the right leader to kind of set the vision, and it does take some visionary work. But I also think it takes a different leadership structure. And so I think that historically schools tend to be more of a top down and there's someone that's in charge and then there are people that that execute the vision. And for me in Yoncalla here at the elementary school, it feels like it's more of a collective leadership. Like we're all in this together. 

We're all making decisions and you're a valued part of these decisions. All the way from the people that work in the kitchen and our support staff are teaching staff, our parents and myself. And you know, I have the caveat. You know, I am the one that's ultimately responsible. So if there's a hard decision that needs to be made I'll make that decision. But it's never happened because, you know, everybody feels like they're consultants in the work. 

It's more work. I'm not gonna lie. It takes a little bit longer than just having one person make the decision. But the work is richer and the benefits and the outcomes, they're, you can't compare them to any other, I mean, we're starting to see some really incredible things happening. 

Adam Davis: You just said, we're starting to see some really incredible things happening. In the last couple weeks, can you think of a moment or two when you were like, yep, I just see this and I know it shows lots of good things happening. 

Erin Helgren: Well, even our little friend that came to read jokes today with you, like just the fact that he's excited and proud of coming and sharing his reading skill. I mean, he's a second grader that's learning to read and he was so excited about reading his jokes. I'm sure he, you'll hear him. 

You know, I think about going into that sixth grade class and I've been with those kids for five or six years, and those kids, you know, a few years ago were considered behavior problems. And now they're thriving and they're functioning in the classroom and they're excited to see me. They're excited to see you. They're friendly. It just feels like a healthy community.

Adam Davis: Vose Elementary School in Beaverton is a racially and ethnically diverse school in a correspondingly diverse suburb of Portland. The building and its parking lot and plenty of the cars that circle through it for drop off and pickup are pretty new, and the school is humming. Lots of activity, lots of excitement, lots of positive and purposeful energy.

Rafael and I set the microphones up in a sunlit room just off the busy main office and Vose's principal, Monique Singleton, made sure there were granola bars and water for the students that ventured out of their classes to join us. And there was a moment as we walked through the cafeteria when Monique gently toed a slightly misplaced floor mat back into place that said a lot about Vose and the energy there.

Aurelia: My name is Aurelia Ziltener and my grade is fifth grade. 

Adam Davis: Do you have a sense of, like, what does a successful fifth grader have to do? 

Aurelia: Try to work hard on your grades, if possible. Get as much extra credit as you can. That's my opinion.

Adam Davis: How do you get good grades? What does it take to get good grades? 

Aurelia: Try and study. Try and like listen to every direction that's given. 

Adam Davis: Any classes where you think, I'm pretty successful in this class? 

Aurelia: Definitely reading. 

Adam Davis: How do you know you're successful in reading? 

Aurelia: I'm at a high reading level. I read like a lot of adult books. 

Adam Davis: Do you feel like it, like, does it matter to you to do well in school? Is that something you wanna-- 

Aurelia: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. 

Adam Davis: You have a sense of where that desire comes from? 

Aurelia: Probably wanting to go to college. 

Adam Davis: And can I just ask like, why do you want to go to college? 

Aurelia: I want to go to a college to become an art teacher. 

Adam Davis: How did it crystallize in your head that maybe you want to be an art teacher?

Aurelia: I've seen a lot of careers and inspiration about being an art teacher and I am an artist, so that it would, it would inspire me more and make me happier to teach more people about that. 

Adam Davis: When you think about the art you do, whether you're painting or drawing or I don't know, what other forms do you think about whether you're doing good art or do you just think, I'm doing art.

Aurelia: I'm doing art.

Adam Davis: Yeah. 

Aurelia: Yeah. 

Adam Davis: That's great. What's art in your head? What do you think art is? 

Aurelia: My motto for art is art's not supposed to look like anything. It's kind of just about how it makes you feel. 

Adam Davis: And how do you hope it makes you feel? 

Aurelia: However you want to paint or draw it. If you wanna paint. I kind of, when I paint, I like, let's say I'm sad, I paint with like colors of blue. And that's how I kind of like take the stress and the sadness off of myself. 

Adam Davis: How about when you're feeling good or when you're feeling like you're doing something well? Are there colors that go with that? 

Aurelia: Yeah, like kind of like sunset hombres, like orange, pink peach, that kind of thing. 

Adam Davis: Cool. Do you have, if you were giving someone advice on how to get good at something, whether it's art or reading, do you have like, here's what you should do to get good at something?

Aurelia: To get good at something. I know it's like, Cheesy, but like, try your best, try as hard as you can. And if it doesn't come out as you want, like if I was a perfectionist when I started drawing, so I would always get angry if something didn't come out the way I wanted it to. And I kind of just had to let go of that so I could be as good as an artist as I am now.

Christian: My name's Christian and I'm in fifth grade. 

Adam Davis: When you hear the word success, what do you think about? 

Christian: Like, I accomplish something. 

Adam Davis: Are there things you most hope to accomplish? 

Christian: Yes. 

Adam Davis: What kind of stuff? 

Christian: I really hope to accomplish my writing goal and I also really wanna accomplish my math goal.

Adam Davis: Can I ask where those goals came from? Like how did you come to set those as goals? 

Christian: I came to set those as goals when I started fifth grade cuz I wasn't really good at fractions and I wasn't really good at addition cuz in the summer I didn't really think about school. 

Adam Davis: That sounds right to me. Over the summer it's very hard for me to think about school. How do you think you get better at spelling? What does it take to get better at spelling? 

Christian: At spelling? I feel like you should go more with the flow. And try not to concentrate on trying to write it good, instead of just going with the flow.

Adam Davis: So you just told us what your sort of goals are right now for fifth grade. If I was gonna ask you to step back and look, like, way into the future, do you have a sense of goals for future? 

Christian: Yes. 

Adam Davis: What sort of stuff? 

Christian: Like, I really hope to accomplish to go into college. And finishing college.

Adam Davis: What would help you go to college? What would help you finish college?

Christian: To help me go to college is get good grades for high school. And middle school. Also being nice to people and being nice to teachers. 

Adam Davis: And how about, are there people outside you, whether they're teachers or classmates who can help you get there? What, what would that help look like? 

Christian: Yes. So one of my friends, Benny, he's my friend since kindergarten. I think he can help me through high school and middle school. And another friend, Dylan. He can also, he, I think he can help me through high school and middle school. 

Adam Davis: And when you think about like Benny and Dylan helping you out, what does that help look like?

Christian: It helps me like like the stress of school. It helps my mind get out of the stress. And also it helps my mind accomplish the things that I want to accomplish. 

Adam Davis: Got it. Are there things not related to school that you most hope to be, to be doing or to be good at? 

Christian: Yes. 

Adam Davis: What kind of stuff?

Christian: To be closer to my brothers and closer to my cousins that live out of state. 

Adam Davis: How do you get closer to your brothers or to your cousins that are far away? 

Tianna: Okay. So for my brothers, to start talking to them more and to start hanging out with them more. And for my cousins we usually visit them once like twice a summer. And whenever I go over there, I hope to spend as much time as them as possible. 

Adam Davis: I see. When you just think about the world out there, is there anybody that you think this person's good at, something in a way that you. 

Christian: Yes. 

Adam Davis: Who comes to mind? 

Christian: My mom. She's really good at taking care of me, my brothers and my dad, and also my dad takes care of all of us.

Adam Davis: How do you think your mom got so good at taking care of you? 

Christian: By her mom, my grandmother teaching her. 

Adam Davis: And for your dad, how did he get good at taking care of you? 

Christian: His mom or grandfather or my grandfather teaching him. 

Adam Davis: Can I ask you how you think teaching works? That's a big question, but how do you think teaching works?

Christian: I feel like teaching works, like showing them what have you have learned by your parents? 

Adam Davis: Okay. When you think about success or getting to be good at something, do you have something you wonder about? Is there a question in your head? 

Christian: Yes. When I think about success, my question in my head is, will I ever make it to success?

Cannon: Oh, my name is Cannon Sanchez. 

Adam Davis: And what grade are you in Cannon? 

Cannon: Fourth grade. 

Adam Davis: Fourth grade. How's fourth grade going? 

Cannon: Really well? Yeah. Some things are pretty confusing, but I still get it. 

Adam Davis: What's confusing these days? 

Cannon: Normally certain kinds of fractions, but I am a really good reader. 

Adam Davis: How have you gotten to be a really good reader?

Cannon: .Sometimes I do know, oh, I might read every once in a while and, and I used to read comic books a lot, but now I am starting to get into different books. 

Adam Davis: Is reading something that, like when you think about yourself and who you are, do you, do you think. I'm Cannon and I want to be a good reader.

Cannon: Yeah. Sometimes. 

Adam Davis: Are there other things that you most want to be good at? . 

Cannon: I am really good at drawing. I make my own comics sometimes. My brother also does the same. 

Adam Davis: Okay. Is he older brother or a younger brother? 

Cannon: Older. He was born on December 5th. So, and I'm pretty sure that would make him a bit more creative, I think.

Adam Davis: Because of when he was born? When you think about, like, let's leave school aside for a minute. And maybe even think of yourself when you're a little bit older, not not as old as me, but a little bit older. What do you most hope to be good at? . 

Cannon: I wanna be good at school in general so I can get a good career and have a good house.

Adam Davis: What, what sort of career do you think you might be interested in? 

Cannon: I don't really know yet, but maybe like every once in a while I might draw comics like, like my brother might. 

Adam Davis: Do you have a sense of what would be most helpful for you as you try to move in that direction? 

Cannon: I think let's keep practicing and, and don't give up.

Adam Davis: Okay. When you think again about success, are there, do you wonder about anything related to success? Like, are there questions in your head that you could share with us? 

Cannon: Not too much. 

Adam Davis: Not too much. It's kind of clear. You got it? Really? . 

Cannon: My mom is the boss of Regency Park.

Adam Davis: And so you think of her as someone who's kind of figured it out. How do you think she got it so figured out? 

Cannon: Well, first she started, and then she worked her way up and became the boss. 

Adam Davis: All right. It's good to have a model like that, right? You can learn from that. If I said to you the word success, and you had to pick one word that comes to your head, what one word would come to your head?

Cannon: Figuring things out in school and ended not giving up. 

Yeah. My name is Christopher Martinez 

Christopher: Donato, and I'm in the fifth grade at Vose Elementary. 

Adam Davis: All right, cool. And if I was gonna ask you like, are there things that you think you're particularly good at? Anything where you think, yeah, I'm kind of good at this thing?

Christopher: Yeah, well, I think I'm really good at math and reading and writing. 

Adam Davis: That's a lot of things. How, how do you get good at those things? 

Christopher: Well, in reading, I really like to read a lot and I like to read like very historical books and chapter books so they can,like, get me more smarter. Like they say that reading gets you more smarter. And for writing, I just like to practice a lot and look at videos and do more research about it. And for math, I like really like to watch videos and study. Math is like my favorite subject, so I really pay much attention. 

Adam Davis: So it sounds like hearing that you're doing well at a thing. 

Christopher: Yeah.

Adam Davis: Maybe makes you like it more.

Christopher: Yeah. 

Adam Davis: When you hear the word success, what do you think about? Anything at all that you think about when you hear that word? 

Christopher: When somebody's a success, I think about a job or a career or just getting a lot of money. 

Adam Davis: Do you know where those ideas, like a job or a career or money, where do you think those might come from?

Christopher: I don't really know the answer to that. 

Adam Davis: Okay, cool. You know what? I don't either. When you look around people, you know, do you ever think, huh. Like they're, that person kind of seems like they're good at a thing or they're successful, and who might those people be? 

Christopher: Oh, my dad and my mom, my brother and my uncle.

Adam Davis: And what do you see in them where you go, they're good at a thing. 

Christopher: Oh, my dad gets paid a lot in his construction job and he does very good in it. And my mom is very good at cooking. She makes the best food. And my uncle has a great job and he does everything possible to do great at it. And whenever I see him, he seems like he's having a good time.

Adam Davis: Can I ask what his work is, just outta curiosity? 

Christopher: Oh, my dad's work is construction. My mom doesn't work, but she's really good at cooking. My uncle works at a factory that makes plastic bags. 

Adam Davis: Uhhuh. And you said he's pretty jazzed about the quality of the work he does.

Christopher: Yep. 

Adam Davis: That's cool. When you think about, Being good at stuff. You ever project way out into the future? Like say twenty years out? Not as old as me, but kind of old. Do you ever think here's what I most hope I'm good at later? 

Christopher: Yeah. 

Adam Davis: What kind of stuff?

Christopher: I wanna be a mathematician. I wanna be a math teacher. If I'm not a math teacher, I wanna be a soccer player. 

Adam Davis: Cool. Do you have a sense of what it would take for you to go from where you are now to be a math teacher? 

Christopher: Yeah. Well, I have to work really hard to be a math teacher and take advantage of what I have right now and use my knowledge to keep working into the future and get all my knowledge and gather it up in the little ball. And when I have a test, I can get all the answers correct and I can get a better future. 

Adam Davis: And who do you think is a really good soccer player?

Christopher: I will say Chuky Lozano. 

Adam Davis: Okay. Why? What do you like about howhe plays?. 

Christopher: Well, he's just really good at the game, and he knows what to do when they pass him, and he doesn't, he's not bragging about all the things he has.

Jecoliah: I'm Jecoliah and I'm in fifth grade. 

Adam Davis: What comes to your mind when you hear the word success? 

Jecoliah: Well, it could be kind of challenging to reach success sometimes, but sometimes it's very rewarding. So it's it means like, it means a lot. It's good to be successful. 

Adam Davis: Well, I guess I have two questions. Maybe I'll start with one. What does it feel like to be successful? What does it feel like to you? 

Jecoliah: It feel, it's hard to describe. It feels like sometimes you can be excited about it. Sometimes you can be, like, overjoyed. It's a really good feeling. 

Adam Davis: Uhhuh. Are there things you most hope to be good at or feel successful at? 

Jecoliah: I mostly want to be good at art, and I just really want to like succeed in life and succeed in in my future career.

Adam Davis: Do you have a sense of what would help you do that? What would help you succeed in life for your career? 

Jecoliah: Mostly support. It's usually, like, really hard to succeed. Because it takes a lot of work, but sometimes when you have a little support, it helps. 

Adam Davis: What's the best kind of support for you? What, what feels supportive for you? 

Jecoliah: Like having somebody by your side knowing that they care. 

Adam Davis: That's great. I want to ask a kind of hard question: what does it feel like when it feels like you're not succeeding at something, what does that feel like? 

Jecoliah: It feels like you probably get disappointed and it probably makes you feel like ashamed or like you could have done better.

Adam Davis: Yeah. How do you think people could deal with that, those feelings or that that experience? 

Jecoliah: They can look on the other side to the story and they could make the best of it. 

Adam Davis: Are there any questions that you have about success, things that you wonder about? 

Jecoliah: Sometimes I wonder, I don't know what career I wanna take, and I don't know if I'll ever be successful in the career I'll take, and sometimes I overthink things and they get more complicated. 

Muna: My name is Muna, and I'm in fourth grade. 

Adam Davis: Are there words that come to your mind when you hear success? 

Muna: You could say, like, encouragement. 

Adam Davis: Are there people that you can think of who you think, yeah, that person is good at something in particular? Who comes to mind when you think they're good at something? 

Muna: My teacher. 

Adam Davis: What is your teacher good at, in your head? 

Muna: She's good at helping other kids learn and focus on what they're learning about. 

Adam Davis: Do you have any idea how she got good at that? 

Muna: Well, she tells us sometimes that when she was younger, she was struggling with reading or math sometimes, and she helps us like how her teacher used to help her sometimes when things were hard for her.

Adam Davis: So she learned from her teacher and now she's teaching you in ways that she learned? 

Muna: Yeah. 

Adam Davis: Can I just ask what her name is? 

Muna: Ms. Laraway 

Adam Davis: Ms. Laraway. Sounds lucky to have a good teacher like that. That's great. Do you think there's things that like our political system or our government could do that would help even your school, or schools in general?

Muna: Well, like some kids who like need a wheelchair or crutches, like they can't always get up on school equipment, and like maybe they could provide more money for schools that don't have like ramps and stuff for kids to play either. 

Adam Davis: Oh, good suggestion. When you think about getting good at stuff or success, do you wonder, is there anything you're wondering about?

Muna: Well, wondering about success It, well, it makes me wonder like, how can it happen not just one way, like there's other ways that success can happen? 

Adam Davis: Yeah. Can you say a little more about what you mean there? 

Muna: Success. There's other ways than just like passing in school. You can pass like other things, like if you are doing a cooking class, you can pass that by learning more like cookbooks and things online with cooking and that kind of stuff.

Adam Davis: Great. Yeah, I totally agree with you. Like success it seems like lots of ways. Not one way. Totally agree. Thank you for that too. And now it's making me hungry cause you're talking about cooking. 

Here's Rafael Otto from the Children's Institute talking with a few kids in the cafeteria.

Rafael Otto: Let's see. Let's see. Tell me your name. 

Kana: Hi. My name is Kana. 

Rafael Otto: What do you think about when you hear the word success? 

Kana: I think when I hear "success" that it means that you are, that you were working on something and it's something that you have accomplished, and like you're saying, "Yes, it's a big success." 

Rafael Otto: Is this something that you feel that you've accomplished?

Kana: Yes. 

Rafael Otto: Can you tell me what it is? 

Kana: I think that what I've accomplished is that my church, that sometimes to do a live feed of the church and I want to make a difference in people and I have to the homeless. 

Rafael Otto: Wonderful. Thank you for sharing that. 

Tell me your name. 

Nate: Nate. 

Rafael Otto: Nate. What do you think about when you hear the word success?

Nate: I think about a positive mindset and I think about how you success your dreams or like, have success in what you want to do. 

Rafael Otto: What are your dreams? 

Nate: Probably to be a game designer. 

Rafael Otto: Game designer. Are there any games you like to play now? 

Nate: Yes. Fortnite. 

Rafael Otto: Fortnite?

Tell me your name. 

Acheyu: Acheyu.

Rafael Otto: Tell me what you think about when you hear the word success. 

Acheyu: It tells me that when I wanna do something, it might happen. 

Rafael Otto: Yeah. Is there anything that you feel like you have been successful at? 

Acheyu: Playing with my friends. 

Rafael Otto: Awesome. Thanks a lot. 

Hi, what's your name? 

Cortez: Cortez. 

Rafael Otto: Cortez. 

Cortez: Yes. 

What do you think about when you hear the word success? Today you feel successful and you want to do things that makes you happy. 

Rafael Otto: What makes you happy? 

Cortez: What makes me happy is play with my friends in basketball. 

Rafael Otto: Great. Thanks a lot. 

What's your name? 

Jordan: Jordan. 

Rafael Otto: Jordan. What do you think about when you hear the word success?

Jordan: I think that it, I don't know. Not sure. I'm not sure. 

Rafael Otto: Thank you. 

What's your name? 

Cameron: Cameron. 

Rafael Otto: Cameron. What do you think about when you hear the word success? 

Cameron: Would make me do what I can't do. 

Rafael Otto: Yeah. Is there something that makes you feel successful? 

Cameron: Like getting a victory out at Fortnite with like one finger.

Rafael Otto: Got it. Thanks a lot. 

What's your name? 

Bella: Bella. 

Rafael Otto: Bella. Tell me what you think about when you hear the word success. 

Bella: Awesomeness. 

Rafael Otto: Awesomeness. What's, what's awesome? 

Bella: That people are successful with stuff. 

Rafael Otto: Is there anything that you feel successful at doing? 

Bella: Riding a bike. 

Rafael Otto: Awesome. Thank you.

Wyatt: Why doesn't the shrimp share his toys?Because he's shellfish. The next one is why do, do I don't sharks—why did the shark cross the road? Cause he was trying to get to the other tide. 

Adam Davis: Oh my gosh. I don't know. We might be laughing too much to do any more interviews. The last thing I want to ask you, when you hear the word success, do any words come to your head? What words come to your head when you hear the word success done? 

Wyatt: Done. 

Adam Davis: Done, let's call it. Good. We're done. Thank you. Thank you for talking. Thank you for the jokes too. That was great. 

Wyatt: You're welcome.

Keiren Bond: What do the kids in your life think about the success? Record them telling us on your phone and send them to the detour@oregonhumanities.org. We'll include it in our next episode. 

Christian: Okay, so The Detour is produced by Keiren Bond. Dave Friedlander is our editor. Adam Davis is our host, Rafael Otto, Ben Waterhouse, Karina Briski, and Alexandra Powell Bugden are today's assistant producers. Special thanks to The Children's Institute and the kids at Vose Elementary School to Yoncalla Elementary School. See you next time. 


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