California Educator

February 2014

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Perspectives Guest Column From an econ class to real life Students "walk the talk" as downtown San Jose tour guides TA K E T H E T O U R Agricultural history is the topic of this "walk & talk" by Matt Peyton. B Y G R E G A D L E R , E A S T S I D E T E A C H E R S A S S O C I AT I O N O N A S AT U R DAY E V E N I N G I find myself in downtown San Jose, listening to a teenage tour guide recount the infamous St. James Park lynching. Matt Peyton describes the kidnapping of Brooke Hart, heir to a family fortune, hinting at the gory details of a murder that enraged a mob and led to a double lynching. I watch the audience react with disbelief to his lyrical account. However, I am smiling as I think back a few months, when this same youth privately admitted to me that he was afraid of public speaking. Matt is one of a handful of students who are benefiting in numerous ways from joining me in the adventure of starting San Jose Walks & Talks. It was a comment from the back of my economics class, "Mr. Adler, why don't you start a business?" that put this student entrepreneurship project in motion. Already aware that students were having difficulty finding jobs in a fragile economy, this comment stuck with me. But realistically, how were 22 Educator 02 Feb 2014 v2.1 int.indd 22 a handful of students and a teacher, without any capital, going to fund a start-up? The answer emerged when we discovered that San Jose was the only major city in the country without a daily walking tour. This was just the low-investment business model that a group of students, long on enthusiasm but short on funds, were looking for. The first students I recruited for this project were excited about taking our first business trip, until I revealed the destination: the local library. The librarian treated them like historians arriving to do archival research, and the students quickly began to sift through the stories of San Jose's beginnings. While every history teacher hears "Why do I have to learn this?" to my relief FE B RUARY 20 14 1/27/14 3:52 PM

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