By Molly Gazin, AVID Program Coordinator, Roadtrip Nation
Roadtrip Nation has partnered with AVID Center and close to two hundred AVID Elective teachers across the country to provide a project-based curriculum that helps students align their passions to college and careers. Roadtrip Nation’s Molly Gazin interviewed Adam Bollhoefer, an AVID Elective teacher from Timber Creek High School in Orlando, Florida as part of Roadtrip’s “Featured Educator” blog series. Read the interview below, and learn more about Roadtrip Nation’s work with AVID Center here.
Molly: Where were you when you were a teenager and how did you get to where you are today?
Adam: When I was a teenager, I was always afraid to find out who I really was. I constantly searched for ways to fill my time, and my mind, with anything that would constitute an acceptable reality. Looking back, I think I was afraid that the life that I defined for myself would not be acceptable by societal standards. Growing up, my family never really talked about how to properly define your life. I only heard to the same esoteric answer: “be happy.” I struggled with depression for most of my young adulthood, and never really knew what I wanted. My senior year in college I took a filler course that required us to volunteer at nonprofit organizations and then reflect on the experiences we had while there. I chose to work at a local high school and an elementary school. I had planned on just doing the 75 total hours I needed to get the college credit, but the experiences changed my outlook on life. Every day I left those schools, I felt full. I had satiated a yearning that I could never fill before. I realized that by giving myself to something bigger than myself, and by committing to being my best at it, I was…happy. From that point on, I was determined to live my life in the service of others. I have never looked back since.
Molly: How do you see Roadtrip Nation influencing your students?
Adam: When we first started Roadtrip Nation, I was afraid my students would not gravitate towards the idea that they were to define their own path in life. I decided that I was going to start our sessions with the video from Bev Kearney. At the end of the video, when I turned on the lights in my room, I could tell from the looks on their faces that this was going to be a life-changing endeavor. The Roadtrip Nation curriculum gives students a constant reminder of why they are doing what they are doing.
Molly: What is your favorite part about Roadtrip Nation?
Adam: My favorite part of Roadtrip Nation is the fact that I felt that I was learning just as much as my students were. The lessons helped bring to the surface a lot of deep seeded doubts my students had about where their lives were headed. For many of them, it was the first time that someone had said that it was acceptable to make their passions their professions.
Molly: What is a memorable Roadtrip Nation moment in your classroom?
Adam: The most memorable moment for me with Roadtrip Nation was when my students would come back from their first interviews and share their experiences with their fellow classmates. You could see that they had been illuminated to the possibilities life has to offer. I felt honored to be a part of this awakening, and I cannot wait to be a part of many more in the future.