SYLVANIA, Ohio — All 200 seventh grade students at McCord Junior High School in Sylvania put down their textbooks and replaced them with several real-life experiences Tuesday.
The school joined a national competition called The Amazing Shake that creates 24 stations, each with a different task, to teach and score each student on important out-of-classroom life skills.
"Oftentimes we find that with all of the academic curricular demands within the education system, it's hard to find time to teach it," said principal Susie Felver. "I'm excited to the see the positive effects of the planning that went into it."
The kids were taken through 60-second scenarios like making a sales pitch or cleaning their room and were scored on their abilities by local community members.
The replacement of 45 minutes within their school day brought some students like Matt Medlin out of their comfort zone and into a more confident future.
"There's around four things I've never done before, which were practice setting an appointment for the dentist, picking out my clothes for an interview, I mean regular interview," Medlin said. "I've never been asked before so I thought it was pretty cool.”
Another student named Lainey Beveridge similarly said, "I was nervous because I don't really like talking to people. After I did it, it was fun."
Each student was scored one to 10 on their performance at each station by a Sylvania community member.
"We tried really hard for them to be not tied to the school in any way," Felver said. "We don't want them to already know the kids or have preconceived opinions of them. We wanted it to be officially unbiased."
Like the other 50 volunteers, Ben Malczewski has a different day job: He is the vice president for the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo but took the time to help prepare the students for life after school.
"We're always looking for ways to engage students so it's great from this cross-generational perspective," Malczewski said. "I think this is good training wheels for life lessons."
The challenge doesn't end Tuesday either. the top point scorers will move on to upcoming rounds of the competition outside of the school.
The top 20-25 scores will move on to a second round that will include a tour and second interview process with Kripke Enterprises.