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Tracks to '26: Annual questions: 9-year-olds talk about life

TRINITY EVANS of Cascade Locks dives through a hoop during December 2016 indoor recess.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
TRINITY EVANS of Cascade Locks dives through a hoop during December 2016 indoor recess.

We met them in Kindergarten.

Now, they are third-graders.

“Tracks to ‘26,” a yearly inquiry into what drives and inspires six young hearts and minds, returns for installment four of 13.

Here are new answers to the annual set of questions from the “Tracks” sextet, now aged 9, who were selected in 2013 for this 13-year project. Each year until they graduate in 2026, we will check in every December with Jess Aubert (Parkdale), Diego Bustos (Westside), Trinity Evans (Cascade Locks), Jack Miller (May Street), Sofia Rodriquez (Mid Valley) and Nicholas Tuttle (May Street).

“Tracks to ‘26” is meant to be a living yearbook of the ideas, insights and experiences of these six young people. Each year we will ask the Tracksters what was a good thing that happened on (or near) that day, and then the five recurring questions:

What are your thoughts about school these days?

What are your favorite things to do?

What is a challenge for you?

What do you want to be when you are an adult?

What are your thoughts about the future?

In terms of life changes since winter 2015, nothing major, but to see them again after six months to a year (we happen into each other during the school year) is to be impressed with how tall they are all becoming.

Most of the Tracksters remembered the questions from a year ago, as well as some of their 2015 answers, and all were ready to put down new tracks. Photos and interviews are all from the first two weeks of December.

Yet there is the occasional question that they just don’t have answer for. Not now anyway, but maybe next year …

2016 interviews from 6 third-graders

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Jess Aubert

Jess Aubert

What is a good thing that happened you today?

There was pumpkin pie at lunch, and it had whipped cream on it.

What are your thoughts about school?

I like it. have a lot of friends. I like playing at recess and I like gym. We get to exercise.

What are your favorite things to do these days?

Read. I like non-fiction, like “Bad Kitty” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”

What is a challenge to you?

Doing a backflip on my trampoline. I can do a front-flip but I can’t do a backflip. I do trampoline a lot in the summer.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A firefighter, I like to save. I practice with worms and bugs. I pick them up out of the driveway and sidewalk and put them in the grass so they don’t get hurt.

What do you think about the future?

I think I’m going to be a good person, because I save the worms, and I’m kind. I have helped my brother get a band aid when he got hurt.

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Jack Miller

Jack Miller

What’s a fun or good thing happened to you today?

Today was toast and eggs day. Friday is cereal day. I like Frosted Mini-Wheats. I get a ride to school with Grandma and Grandpa (Roger and June Baker, who had lived in Hood River 20 years at the time).

What are your favorite things to do these days?

Watch TV, read books. That’s all. (Last book read was “Joshua Dredd”: kid whose mom and dad are supervillains but he wants to be a superhero.)

What do you think about school?

It’s harder. The math is harder, and the reading’s harder, the writing’s harder. The math is multiplication and division and the books have a lot more words.

What is a challenge to you?

Science. There’s hard tests. Running. (Asked why) I don’t really know.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A policeman.

What do you think about the future?

I don’t know. I think flying cars, jetpacks. Phones, better phones. (They will) teleport you, maybe.

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Diego Bustos

Diego Bustos

What is a good thing that happened so far today?

I played tag at recess.

What are your favorite things to do?

I like video games, like the Lego Movie videogame. I got President Business for one million Legos. You have to get Legos and you get money, like Legos on X-box. It’s fun because I got to be really tall and I got to kick. (Who do you kick?) A lot of people. I like to play football, at the middle school. I play with a team in Hood River. I played linebacker and defense. It’s fun to tackle. It feels like I’m in space.

What do you think about school?

It’s boring and hard. You have to do a lot of math and writing.

What is a challenge to you?

Math. You have to do math problems.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be a builder like my Dad.

What do you think about the future?

I wonder how it’s going to be like.

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Sofia Rodriquez

Sofia Rodriquez

What is a good thing that happened so far today?

That there’s these things called Santagrams and I bought them for 50 cents each and send them to my friends.

What do you think about school?

We do a lot more multiplication than we did in second grade. I’m making more friends and there is something called choir, you go every Tuesday after school and I joined the choir.

What are your favorite things to do?

I like to read a lot and I also like math. What I like about math is that it’s not as hard because my brothers taught me when I was younger. So it’s not really hard but it’s not really easy so it’s right. I’m reading “The Secret of Droums,” a series of chapter books. I like series of books. I like that there’s not just one book, that there’s more than one. If I get like a book and like that’s just the only book and there’s another book totally different about that, then I don’t know anything about that book, so there’s kind of like they have the same characters and it’s easier for me to understand.

What is a challenge to you?

I think swimming at the middle of the pool, it’s like seven feet. I also think that dividing by higher numbers. There’s this rope and you jump off it and you go to the middle of the pool and swim straight over there. But they wait for the next person to go and they wait so no one will get on you or anything. I sometimes practice that. If I’m right there and I’m trying to swim from the middle like close to where the rope is, and sometimes it’s challenging because if I go I’m better at swimming under water and I need to catch my breath and I need to stay in the middle of the pool and I have to keep on going, so it’s kind of hard because I’m like standing in the middle of the pool.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A teacher.

What do you think about the future?

I think that when I’ll be older I might be able to do the bigger numbers. Dividing will be easier, and I will be able to swim from the other place and it won’t be as hard.

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Trinity Evans

Trinity Evans

What’s a good thing that happened to you today?

I played on a little ice puddle. I skated on it a little.

What are your favorite things to do?

I like to do crafts a lot. I just like to make stuff out of card board. I made a Christmas tree I can put up in my room. It’s about that tall (indicating 3 feet). I just cut ornaments out of cardboard and decorated them with markers and stuck them on the tree. There’s a tree in our living room, but I just wanted one for upstairs. I had help from my Mom.

What do you think about school?

I think it’s been going really well. I’ve been meeting lots of new people but I mostly have the same people from last year. I just have one new student. He’s new to Cascade Locks, he used to live in Portland but he moved here. It’s been a little weird but I’ve got to know him really well.

What is a challenge to you?

Maye multiplication and division. I haven’t been taught a whole lot but I KNOW them, I just don’t know all my times tables and division tables. I work on them every day and night.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I’ve been thinking about a person who studies bugs, because I really like bugs a lot. They’re just really helpful to the world and I just really like them. Many kinds of bees are endangered and that’s really bad because they actually make foods like berries. I learned that like a week ago.

What do you think about the future?

I think it’s going to go very well, because I’ve had a perfect life so far. I think the world will be better, because what I want to do when I grow up will actually help the endangered bugs in the world.

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Nicholas Tuttle

Nicholas Tuttle

What are your favorite things to do?

Recess. I‘m trying to make a big snowball at school. We made an igloo at home, with my Dad and brothers.

What do you think about school?

Good. Reading, math, science, and art. I like them. In science, we’re talking about clouds and we made a book with instructions. We watch what type of clouds are out, like cumulus, and see what the weather will be like from the clouds. And they’re not made out of cotton: they’re made out of water.

What is a challenge to you?

Running. Because I just broke my leg (in October). It’s different. I still limp a little. I got it broken playing football. I was two inches from a touchdown when someone stepped on my leg. It was disgusting — well, it was really bad.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A football player.

What do you think about the future?

Good. I don’t know about it. It will be harder at school. The snow will still be here.

‘Tracks’ from December 2015

Trinity Evans, Cascade Locks

“I’ve been writing a book with my cousin (Alex Evans) for fun. It’s about animal habitat, like a bear lives in a cave.”

  1. “Good. I’m making lots of friends. Math is very fun. I can learn more equations and times.”
  2. “Math. Playing outside. If it’s snowing I like to play in the snow. I go to the park and ride my bike.”
  3. “Times in math is a challenge. Learning to take the really big numbers and add them all together. Sometimes I have to learn like … 10 times a hundred.”
  4. “A vet. Because I like to help animals. I have two dogs and a cat.”
  5. “I think about having my own house.”

Sofia Rodriguez, Mid Valley

“Today I’m excited for two things. My sister Cecy is going to graduate college. Today is her last day. At Portland State. And the next thing I’m excited for is we’re doing our Santa letters and I’m on my final draft.”

  1. “Good. My teacher is (doing) a thing called self-manager. It’s where you’re safe, responsible, kind and respectful and I got the medal. Being safe walking in the halls, being responsible by like bringing your homework and being respectful by not hitting people and being kind by helping people who fall in recess. I was helping my friend when he doesn’t understand English.”
  2. “Math. Because I’m learning times with my brothers. And recess, playing outside and on the swings.”
  3. “Having to do times and divide by big numbers, like today I did nine times eight, it was a little hard for me.” Asked the answer, she said, “72.”
  4. “A teacher. Because I want to have a chance to teach kids, and teach in Spanish or English.”
  5. “When I get up to bigger grade like fifth grade it will be a little harder. I want to go to Oregon State when I grow up. My sister Lulu goes there.”

(In 2013 Sofia mentioned that a hard word she was trying to learn was “metamorphosis.” She gave her six-year-old version (mettemorfess) of the synonym for change, and when asked to spell it this month, recited “M-A-T-A-M-O-R-F-I-S-E-S.” When she heard the correct spelling, she said, “It’s from using the f not the ph,” in Spanish.)

Jess Aubert, Parkdale

“I was at the gingerbread party at Town Hall and Shelby accidently burned me with the glue gun. She kind of turned the wrong way,” he said, showing a half-inch burn on the side of his neck. “I went to get an ice pack.” Asked if he cried, he laughed and said, “I tried to hold it in.”

  1. “Good. It’s a lot of work. We have to write a lot and read a lot.”
  2. “And my favorite thing to do is color. Right now we’re working on gift wrapping. And we got to paint a lot.”
  3. “School. All the work.” Do you have to do homework? “Right when I get off the bus. My Mom makes me. And I don’t like homework.”
  4. “Fireman.”
  5. “I don’t know.”

Diego Bustos, Westside

“My little cousin came to my house and we played. We call him Chucho. His real name is Jesus. He’s one. He’s cute. We were on my Mom’s bed, and we were playing with toys. He knows how to walk.”

  1. “Good. I like math. I like numbers. School is hard. You have to do a lot of tests.”
  2. “Play football. And soccer. We play tackle. I play with my cousin. He’s 11. It’s fun.”
  3. “I don’t know. Not too many things.”
  4. “Be a chef. My dad is a chef, at Brian’s.”
  5. “It will be good. Because I get to work.”

Nicholas Tuttle, May Street

“I got a new book. ‘Diary of the Wimpy Kid.’ My Mom ordered it. I just started it.”

  1. “Good. We’re learning harder stuff. We get better readers — harder books.”
  2. “Go somewhere with my friends. Hiking and mountain biking.”
  3. “Riding my skateboard is kind of hard.” (He started two months ago, and asked if had fallen, he pointed to his leg and said, “I have like a scab.”)
  4. “A wrestler.”
  5. “I’m gonna be a good mountain biker. I’m gonna be a good skateboarder.”

Jack Miller, May Street

“Well, me and my friend Deacon won basketball at recess.”

  1. “Good. We are closer to the playground. We’re usually out (for recess) first.”
  2. “Ride my bike, and go with my sister Gigi — or Grace. I like to call her Grace.”
  3. “Multiplication and division.”
  4. “A scientist.”
  5. “Hard but easy. Being a scientist is hard.”


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