Permission Granted – #1LinerWeds

When I was packing up my office, I stumbled across a few mementos from a period about twenty years ago when I volunteered for our local Junior Achievement (JA) program. I was the leader/teacher for the JA program designed for fifth grade students. I was assigned to a class in a Catholic elementary school near my office. Our family was attending a Catholic church at the time, and I was serving on the Board of that church’s elementary school – it seemed like a good fit.

The fifth grade JA Program was designed to teach the students about business. The students were divided into groups. Each group was allowed to choose a business to use as a model during the various sections. There were sections on types of business, types of manufacturing and, most important for today’s one liner, marketing. The marketing section included a lesson on advertising. During the advertising lesson, students were allowed to choose. They could prepare and perform a skit – a commercial, or they could create a poster – a print ad.

As instructors, we were encouraged to share our expertise with the class. I offered to teach two extra classes in which I would explain how websites are built. In addition, I offered to let the students construct a single webpage that I agreed to host on a website I was running at the time. This way, the parents and grandparents could see the business the students had created. This offer had to be reviewed and approved by the principal – who, as is often the case in Catholic schools, was a Nun.

The good Sister agreed to my proposal, with the following caveat:

“At no time can any information that would reveal the identity of any student be displayed on these web sites.”

That made sense.

I explained my offer and Sister’s restriction to the students. The students were excited, and the five groups designed web pages containing the following information:

  • Business name
  • Description of the business
  • Hours of operation
  • Directions

In addition, the students were encouraged to design and draw a logo, a map and any other graphic information they thought would be helpful.

Work proceeded. Posters were created, skits were performed, and web pages were designed. The design of the web pages and all the supporting material were reviewed by me, by the teacher and by the Principal. I took my laptop and a projector to the classroom. We constructed the web pages and published them. The published sites were reviewed by me, the teacher and the Principal. The URLs were given to the children and the pages remained available for three months.

When I took the web pages down, I noticed that on the map of one of the sites, the students had put their names in as street names. Five student names, hidden in plain sight.

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you have a one-liner, I’d encourage you to join in on the fun. You can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants. It also reminds me of a post by Jennie about her creative students. Today’s photos are from a foggy walk with Maddie.


  1. Those were smart and creative kids, naming the streets after themselves. I get the impression that all had a lot of fun with this project, including the teacher. Am I right?

    You had fog, we are still cold and expecting snow today. And it’s going to get colder next week. I might have to stock up on more long underwear and wooly socks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was quite a project you gave the children – but leave it to them to be more creative than you or the Nun thought, eh?
    Most of the pictures look like they should be from a Halloween post! Eerie…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • The JA course was very well planned. We extended the Advertising section to include a website. The kids were great, and so clever. The Nun agreed, but mentioned something about it being against her better judgement. I told the teacher the following year, but we never told the good Sister.

      I love being out in the fog. This was a little eerie.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great story Dan. As is often the case, we adults complicate things trying to show how smart we are and the kids manage to look through a much cleaner and simpler lens and find solutions that we completely miss. I’ll bet many of those kids are very successful in their adult lives. Having a good volunteer instructor also helped!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Bob! You are exactly right. I do think the biggest challenge to creativity is the so-called adults in the room. We argued with several teachers when our daughter was going through school and wasn’t sticking to the standard script.


  4. Hiding in plain sight–that is some kind of redemption for the kids. At the Catholic school my kids attended, our new principal (yes, a nun) transferred from NYC down here to Florida and promptly cancelled recess. The school is in a quiet residential area. She was afraid of drive-by shootings. We had to calm her down and tell her she’s not in NYC any more, and that doesn’t happen here. Sadly that was 20-25 years ago. Different times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How to endear yourself to children – cancel recess. The Principal was a stern woman, but she was willing to support the idea. I told the teacher what happened, but we never told the Principal. The kids were just too clever for us.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved it! This was my life for 30+ years. I did some great projects with my students that they loved and were really into. They took ownership of their projects and worked hard. But you always had to watch…they will take an opportunity to be a little mischevious, a little subversive if you don’t catch them! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a terrific story! Those kids were amazingly clever. It would be fun to know what the “Feisty Five” are doing today. Hopefully still being creative and thinking outside the box.

    Love all the fog-shrouded photos. They make me think of old black and white movies where the story takes place in England.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dan, I enjoyed this story so very much. Packing up an office is a pain, but I’m glad it triggered this memory.
    The kids finding a way to add their names speaks to more than their ingeunity — people need credit for their work. I don’t see it as a thing of ego, it’s a psychological need. After 10 years of USPTO execs (except for one) taking credit for my words, I’m more sensitive to that than most.
    Happy first week of retirement, my friend. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. JA in a day has become my favorite volunteer activity. I usually have 2nd graders. They’re a handful. The thought of them one day becoming 5th graders who was hide their names in plain sight makes me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had a coworker who worked with 2nd graders, but at a different school. I like that they went out of their way to break the one rule Sister Principal had added as a condition – and got away with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful fog :)
    One of the perks of civil engineering is that sometimes you can get your very own street name. I think it’s marvelous the kids made their mark. Great that you provided those classes, too. The Mister did that a few years back.
    Privacy for kids is so bizarre. I’m protecting them, my husband’s protecting them, the school lets us sign when and when not to protect them, and then they go on SnapChat and exploit themselves – rat out their siblings and complain about their parents and whatever else, but I guess it’s not full-on public! I am very, very grateful I did not grow up on the internet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! We say the same thing about the timing of the Internet. Our daughter was all over private chat groups with her friends, but nowhere near the options we have today. If these kids had done this today, I’d probably be in trouble – if anyone had noticed. I told the teacher what happened. We agreed not to tell the Principal. The site was down by then.

      It’s hard to explain privacy to kids. It goes along with that invincible spirit.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Ah…and now the retirement confessions start ;-)! So many awesome things to smile about in your post. Maybe one of those kids is now working at Google or Facebook or Instagram and hiding things right before our eyes? PS – your fog photos are stunning!!

    Liked by 1 person

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