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To be or not to be, or to just be all the things

Your Dream is Our Dream: Demitri Velazquez

Grandville — When East Elementary Principal Anne Waldie recommended that School News Network meet Demitri Velazquez, she said, “I can’t wait to hear what he’s going to say.” 

That’s because the ambitious fifth-grader has so many potential plans for the future, he can hardly keep track of them. But he’s eager to talk about them all and see where life leads.

We sat down with Demitri to discuss his dreams — or, at least, his many options — for the future, and how his classes at East are helping him get there. 

What is your dream? “I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I might want to have my own business, like my dad, or maybe run a restaurant, or be a builder or a writer.” 

We asked Demitri to unpack that a bit: “I would like to have a small shop or restaurant, maybe in downtown Grandville. I don’t actually know what kind of shop, but maybe I could sell, like, candles or shoes. … 

“If I was a writer, I think I would probably want to write books, but if I did that I might have to have a little side job, because writing books takes a long time. … 

“Then I also might want to be a builder, like a construction worker, working with bricks and stuff. 

“I don’t actually know what might happen, but I think all of that is kind of interesting.”

Why are these career options interesting to you? On being a business owner: “I think owning a business would be very interesting and selling stuff would be very fun. Also, just by having a small business, I feel like I would accomplish a lot.”

On being a writer: “I enjoy writing a lot; and honestly, I just really like to read books.”

On being a construction worker: “I like LEGOs, so I already like building stuff. Also, I like helping people to build things; like once, I built a little thing for the fireplace for my grandma’s neighbors, and that was fun. I just think it would be so interesting to be a builder.” 

On running a restaurant: “I like going out to restaurants a lot, and I feel like it could make a lot of money. Also, I like cooking, like, I can make a grilled cheese and also eggs — they’re both very simple and they taste really good. … I might like to have a Red Robin (franchise) or something similar to that, or maybe a seafood restaurant. I don’t really like to eat seafood, though, so I don’t know if that would be a good idea.”

How are school and your teachers helping you to pursue these dreams? “One thing I learned this year is how to add and subtract decimals, and I think that would help if I’m a cashier at my restaurant or shop. I feel like math in general is helpful to be a shop owner. … 

“For writing, our teachers sometimes let us do, like, little free-writing times and I like that. And at the beginning of the year we did these building experiments with spaghetti noodles and marshmallows, and we had to build the biggest marshmallow tower. Ours kept on falling down and we got frustrated a lot, but we were able to build it up pretty tall.”

What do you enjoy most about school? “I like math, because it’s everywhere. It’s difficult, but it’s not that difficult. I like decimals, because that’s what we’re learning right now and my teacher explains it very well, so it is pretty easy for me to add and subtract them. Also, I really like reading, probably as much as I like math.” 

Read more from Grandville: 
I really want to be a teacher’
Her focus: your success

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Beth Heinen Bell
Beth Heinen Bell
Beth Heinen Bell is associate editor, reporter and copy editor. She is an award-winning journalist who got her professional start as the education reporter for the Grand Haven Tribune. A Calvin University graduate and proud former Chimes editor, she later returned to Calvin to help manage its national writing festival. Beth has also written for The Grand Rapids Press and several West Michigan businesses and nonprofits. She is fascinated by the nuances of language, loves to travel and has strong feelings about the Oxford comma. Read Beth's full bio


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