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What type of education did he/she receive? From nursery school to post-graduate education, select this Topic to help you trace his/her progression through the world of education.
Did he/she go to preschool or nursery school?
- How old was he/she when he/she first went to preschool?
- Describe the school. What was its name? How many students attended? What did it look like inside and out?
- What were a typical day's activities? Painting? Singing? Were there nap times or snack times? What did children learn in preschool when he/she attended?
- Did he/she have any favorite songs or games? Did he/she pass them on to his/her children or grandchildren?
- Who were his/her favorite playmates? What did they do together? Did he/she have a favorite teacher? Did he/she keep in touch with these people in later years?
- Did he/she or his/her parents save any memorabilia from preschool? Art projects or class pictures? What memories and feelings did these items bring back after he/she had grown?
- Was attending preschool a good experience for him? Did he/she send his/her own children or grandchildren to preschool?
- Was there one specific event from his/her preschool years that he/she remembered vividly in later years? What happened that was so memorable?
Did he/she go to kindergarten?
- Describe his/her kindergarten. Where was it located? Was it part of an elementary or grammar school? What was in his/her kindergarten classroom that might not be found in today's classrooms?
- Describe a typical kindergarten day. What did children of his/her age learn? Did he/she have a favorite activity?
- What kind of a pupil was he? Did he/she like kindergarten and the idea of being in a classroom? Would he/she have preferred to be outdoors playing?
- Who were his/her friends in kindergarten? What did they do together? Did they play together after school? Who was his/her teacher? Did he/she keep in touch with these people in later years?
- Did he/she do anything special at school on holidays? Dress up for Halloween or have a St. Valentine's Day party? Did people bring in special treats to eat on these days?
- How did he/she get to school each morning? Did he/she walk with a sibling or adult or take some other means of transportation?
- Did he/she or his/her parents save any memorabilia from his/her kindergarten years? Art work or class pictures? In later years, what feelings did these items bring back?
- What did he/she wear to kindergarten? Was there a favorite outfit that he/she had? What did children of his/her age wear at the time?
- Did he/she bring his/her lunch to school? What did he/she take? Did he/she carry a lunch box or lunch pail? Were surprises ever packed in his/her lunch?
- What kinds of games did he/she play at recess? Are these games that children still play?
Would you like to write about his/her elementary education?
- Describe his/her elementary school. Where was it located? What did it look like? About how many students attended? Was it a public school or private?
- Did he/she have siblings at the same school? How many grades ahead of him or behind him were they? Did he/she play with them at recess or eat lunch with them?
- Who were his/her best friends in elementary school? What did they do together? Was there a bully in his/her school?
- What kind of a student was he? Was school easy for him or did he/she struggle? Did he/she like school?
- Did he/she have a favorite teacher? Was there something important that this person taught him? Was there a teacher that he/she disliked? Why?
- What subjects did children of his/her age study when he/she went to elementary school? For example, reading, geography, or history? Did he/she have a favorite subject?
- Did his/her school have activities such as plays, choral concerts or spelling bees? What part did he/she play in these kinds of activities?
- How did he/she get to school each day? Were there days when he/she couldn't go to school because of the weather?
- Did he/she accomplish anything in elementary school that he/she was particularly proud of? Did he/she get first prize in a competition? Did he/she have especially good grades on one report card?
- Did he/she ever have to stay after school? What did he/she do to get into trouble? Did he/she have to clap erasers or clean the classroom as punishment?
- Did he/she have any favorite songs or games? Did he/she pass them on to his/her children or grandchildren?
Did he/she go to junior high school?
- Describe his/her junior high school. What was it called and where was it located? Was it separate from his/her elementary school? How many grades and students were in the school? Was it a religious or single sex school?
- What kind of a student was he? Was the work easy for him or did he/she struggle? Was there a particular subject that he/she liked or disliked?
- Did he/she have a favorite teacher in junior high? How did this teacher influence him and what did he/she learn from him or her?
- Was he/she involved in any extra-curricular activities at school? Glee club, the school newspaper, or sports, for instance? What part did he/she play in these activities?
- Did he/she have any nicknames? How did he/she get them? What about nicknames for his/her friends or teachers?
- Did he/she and his/her friends ever pull any pranks? On whom? Did he/she get in trouble for any of the jokes? What kind of punishment was he/she given? Was he/she glad that he/she did it even though he/she was punished?
- Who were his/her junior high buddies? Were they the same friends that he/she had in elementary school or did he/she meet new people? Was he/she a part of the "in" crowd?
- If he/she didn't have to wear a school uniform, what kind of clothes did he/she wear to school? Was he/she worried about being fashionable? What hairstyles were popular at the time?
- Years later, what event, place, or person from junior high was the most memorable? Did something embarrassing happen to him? Did he/she accomplish something that he/she was particularly proud of?
- Did he/she save any memorabilia from junior high? What memories did these items bring back after he/she left school?
- Did he/she graduate from junior high school? Why or why not? Was he/she sad to leave his/her friends and teachers? What happened on the day that he/she left?
Did he/she not attend high school?
- Why was he/she unable to attend high school? Was it not expected when he/she was growing up? Did he/she need to help out at home?
- What did he/she do during his/her teen years? Work? Take care of other family members? Was he/she starting a family of his/her own?
Did he/she attend high school?
- What was the name of the school he/she attended? Where was it located? How many people attended his/her school? What did the building look like inside and out? Did he/she have a school mascot or school colors? How about a rival school?
- Did he/she go to a private or religious school? If so, why? In what ways was it better or worse than going to a public school?
- Was his/her transition from junior high to high school smooth or rocky? What made it easy or difficult? Did his/her friends or family members make a difference?
- What did he/she wear to school? Did he/she have to wear a uniform? What were the latest styles for students at the time? Looking back after he/she had grown, did he/she laugh at what he/she wore?
- Who were his/her best friends? What did they do together? Did any of them have nicknames? Did they keep in touch after leaving school?
- Did he/she have any "crazy" friends? People who did things that he/she wouldn't risk himself? Describe them and what they did. What's the craziest thing he/she ever did during high school? Why did he/she do it?
- Did he/she and his/her friends play practical jokes on others? What kinds of jokes did he/she play? On whom did he/she play the jokes? Friends? Teachers? The principal?
- Did he/she ever get into trouble? Often or rarely? What did he/she do and why did he/she do it? How did he/she get caught? What kinds of punishment did he/she receive?
- Were there any "groups" in school other than his/her own? Did they have nicknames? What were they like? Tough? Brainy? Was there tension between his/her group and other groups? What caused it?
- Did he/she feel like a member of the "in" crowd? Why or why not? How did that make him feel? Did they have a certain way of dressing or a special place to "hang out"?
- Who were his/her favorite teachers? Why? How did they influence him or what did he/she learn from them? With which teacher did he/she have the most trouble? What caused the problem?
- Did he/she spend much time doing school work? Why or why not? Was school easy for him or did he/she really have to work hard? What were his/her least and most favorite subjects? Why?
- How were his/her grades? Did he/she ever try to cheat to get a better grade?
- Did he/she ever flunk anything? Did he/she not try hard enough or was that subject just not his/her cup of tea? How did he/she feel about flunking? How did his/her parents feel about it?
- Did he/she participate in any extra-curricular activities? Drama or debate club? School band or cheerleading? Why did or didn't he/she join? What did he/she get from these activities that he/she didn't get in regular classes?
- Did he/she participate in school athletics? Which sports? Did he/she earn a letter for any sports? What did this letter mean to him? Did he/she continue playing this sport after leaving school?
- Did his/her school have a prom? If not, why? If yes, did he/she go? Why or why not? Where was it? What kind of music was played? With whom did he/she go? What did he/she wear? Did he/she have a good time?
- Did he/she earn any special honors in high school? For what? Academics? Industrial arts? Sports? Describe them and what they meant to him.
- In later years, how did he/she feel about high school? What were his/her happiest and saddest memories from this time period? What was the funniest thing that happened to him? Did he/she wish he/she had done anything differently?
- What sort of memorabilia did he/she save from high school? Yearbooks or autograph books? What's written in them? How about essays or school books? Over the years, what kinds of memories and feelings did these items bring back?
- What did he/she learn during this time that wasn't specifically taught in books or in the classroom? Where and from whom did he/she learn these things? How did these lessons help him later?
- In what ways did he/she grow during this time? Did he/she become more open to new ideas and different people? More independent and mature?
- Looking back in later years, did he/she agree with the views that he/she held at the time? For example, did he/she have the same ideas about money, race, or work ethics? Why or why not? Did things he/she learned change his/her ideas?
- What did he/she do during the summers of his/her high school years? Work? Stay at home and relax? Why?
Did he/she graduate from high school?
- Did his/her school have a graduation ceremony or was it not a tradition? If yes, describe the ceremony. Was anything about it especially memorable? If there wasn't a ceremony, did he/she do anything special on that day or was it much like any other day?
- Was there a big graduation party? Where was it and who was there? Did he/she get a special graduation gift? What? From whom?
- What were his/her plans before graduation? What actually happened? What kept his/her plans the same or why did they change?
Did he/she not graduate from high school?
- If he/she didn't graduate from high school, did he/she finish school later in life by taking an equivalency exam, studying at home, or attending night school? Why did he/she decide to do this?
- What happened that he/she didn't graduate? Was it not expected when he/she went to school? Did he/she need to help out at home? Was school just not his/her cup of tea?
- What plans did he/she have for after he/she left school? Did he/she get a job? Did he/she think he/she would ever go back to school?
Were his/her high school reunions important to him/her?
- Did he/she go to any of his/her high school reunions? Why or why not? Did he/she not have the time to go? Did he/she look forward to them?
- Was it fun to see his/her old friends after so many years? How had they changed? Who changed the most? Did seeing them make him realize that he/she had changed in ways he/she hadn't thought of?
- Who lived up to his/her expectations? Who didn't? Who was the biggest success? Did anyone in his/her class become famous?
- After his/her reunion, how did he/she feel about himself? Was he/she proud of his/her accomplishments? Was there anything that he/she regretted?
Did he/she attend a trade school?
- Why did he/she decide to attend trade school? What subject was he/she interested in studying?
- Where did he/she go to school? Was it a local school or did he/she have to commute or live away from home?
- What did he/she learn in trade school? Were the classes easier or more difficult than he/she had expected? Did he/she have to spend long hours studying?
- What was the best part about trade school? The classes and skills he/she learned? Friends he/she might have made?
- How long did it take for him to finish the program? Did he/she find a job right after finishing? Did trade school increase his/her earning potential?
Did he/she attend college?
- Why did he/she decide to attend college? Was it expected in his/her family, or was he/she the first to go?
- How many different colleges did he/she apply to? Did he/she pick just one or two favorites or did he/she apply to several?
- Were the applications difficult to fill out? Did he/she work on them for hours or complete them all at the last minute? Did his/her efforts pay off?
- Which school did he/she attend? Describe it. Was it big or small? Liberal arts or a technical school?
- Where was it located? Did he/she go away to college or stay close to home?
- If he/she went away, how did he/she feel when he/she left for college? Did he/she feel mature and independent? Was he/she scared of what was ahead of him? Did he/she have any expectations about how he/she would perform academically?
- Did he/she "go wild" when he/she first arrived at college, knowing that his/her parents weren't looking over his/her shoulder? Did he/she enjoy being his/her own keeper or was it scary for him?
- What kind of a schedule did he/she have at school? Did he/she take a heavy load of courses and have a job too, or did he/she find himself with a lot of free time? Was he/she most likely to be found in the library? In the pub? In the gym?
- Did he/she have a favorite class or professor? What did he/she learn from this class or person? Was anyone his/her mentor at school?
- How did he/she decide what subject matter to study? Was there an area of study that was particularly popular among students of his/her age?
- Who were his/her friends in college? How did he/she meet them? Through classes or the place that he/she lived? Were they friends that he/she had in high school or did he/she meet new people?
- Where did he/she live at college? In a dormitory, rooming house, or at home? If he/she didn't live at home, what did his/her room look like? Where did he/she get his/her meals? How was the food?
- What was most surprising about college? The difficulty of classes? The variety of people who attended? The ideas that they had?
- Was he/she a participant in any extra-curricular activities? Clubs, sports, or the newspaper staff, for example? Why did he/she become involved in these activities? Was it a way to meet new people?
- What types of campus events did he/she attend, if any? Were there plays or concerts? Did the school have a football team? Were there school dances? With whom did he/she go to these events?
- Did he/she play any college pranks? What did he/she do? Was he/she ever disciplined for any of these pranks?
- Did he/she ever have the chance to travel abroad during his/her studies? Where and why did he/she go? What did this experience add to his/her education?
- Did he/she ever transfer between colleges? Why? Where did he/she go? Was it easy or difficult to make the transition? Which school did he/she like better and why? Did he/she think that transferring was a positive part of his/her education?
- Did he/she save any memorabilia from his/her college years? Papers that he/she wrote or books that he/she used? A scrapbook? What feelings or memories did these items bring back in later years?
- Overall, how was his/her college experience? Later in life, was he/she glad that he/she went? Was it an experience that he/she would want his/her children or grandchildren to have? Or, did he/she find that college wasn't his/her cup of tea?
- If he/she graduated, did he/she attend his/her graduation ceremony? Why or why not? Did he/she wear a cap and gown? Who spoke and who attended?
- If he/she graduated, how did he/she feel about leaving school? What kinds of life expectations did he/she have as a graduate? Did he/she think that as a college graduate he/she had a head start on life? Was he/she overly optimistic?
- If he/she didn't graduate, what happened that he/she wasn't able to? Were there monetary problems or family needs? Did he/she find a career that didn't require a college education? Did he/she not like the college atmosphere?
- If he/she didn't graduate, how did he/she feel about leaving? Was he/she glad to be moving on? Was he/she sad to leave friends and school? A little bit of both?
Did he/she work towards obtaining an advanced degree?
- What did he/she study? Why was he/she interested in this subject? What stirred him into taking classes?
- Did he/she ever take any classes because of his/her occupation? What kinds of classes were they? How did they help his/her career?
- Did he/she belong to any trade associations or clubs that had educational programs? What did he/she learn from them? How were they helpful to him?
- Did he/she travel in order to learn a language or learn about other cultures? Where did he/she go? What did he/she learn? How were classes taught, or were there classes at all?
- Did he/she take classes for recreational purposes? For example, did he/she take dance, music, or art lessons? How did he/she use what he/she learned?
Did he/she continue to educate himself later in life through classes, work, or travel?
- What made him decide to continue his/her schooling after completing his/her undergraduate degree? Was it a difficult decision? Why or why not?
- Did he/she go back to school right after graduating from college or did he/she do something else for a few years?
- It usually takes several years to get an advanced degree. Did it seem like an overwhelming project when he/she first began?
- Did he/she have children or a spouse when he/she went back to school? Did continuing his/her education create any problems for his/her family?
- Did he/she have to move to a new town or state to begin his/her studies? Was he/she able to adjust to the new atmosphere? What kinds of difficulties did he/she run into?
- What area of study did he/she undertake when he/she went back to school? What level of degree was he/she aiming for? Why did he/she choose this level and area of study? Did he/she have a specific job in mind?
- What differences did he/she find between his/her graduate and undergraduate education? Which of his/her schooling experiences did he/she enjoy more, graduate or undergraduate?
- After beginning his/her studies, did he/she ever regret his/her decision to undertake them? Why? Was he/she able to overcome his/her doubts?
- How did he/she finance his/her graduate studies? Was earning the money or getting a loan difficult? Did he/she get a scholarship? Did he/she teach at the undergraduate level to defray the costs?
- Did he/she work while earning his/her advanced degree, or was he/she a full-time student? If he/she worked, was he/she able to manage his/her time well?
- What kind of social life did he/she have while earning his/her advanced degree? Was it the same as when he/she was an undergrad? Did he/she find that he/she had to spend too much time with his/her books to be social?
- What kinds of grades did he/she get as a graduate student? Did he/she find the classes easy or difficult?
- Did he/she have any special professors or mentors? What did he/she learn from them?
- Did he/she write a thesis? What was the topic? How long did it take to finish it? Did he/she enjoy writing it?
- If he/she finished his/her degree, how long did it take him? Did it take him longer than the norm? Did he/she have a celebration on the day of his/her graduation? Who attended? Did he/she receive any special gifts?
- If he/she didn't graduate, what happened that he/she was unable to finish his/her degree? Were there monetary problems? Did he/she find a job that he/she preferred to school? Was he/she just not cut out for grad school?
- How did it feel to leave school behind him? Was he/she sad to go or did he/she look forward to facing the "real world"? Did he/she have a job lined up? Was he/she getting married? Did he/she think that he/she would ever return to school?