April 2016… The guest and his interviewers sat around a large wood conference table, he in a three-piece suit, the team of journalists in their school uniforms of polo shirts and khaki pants. With one against six, it could have turned into a messy media showdown—except that these young journalists’ sole mission was to learn as much as they could about health from their guest, Frederic Bertley, senior vice president of science and education for The Franklin Institute.
Dr. Bertley recently was interviewed by Xaria Burgess, Shyann Davis, Zahir Farlow, Diwud Morrow, Kenyetta Powell, and Nakeya Williams—student staff members of the Healthy Hope newspaper at Hope Partnership for Education in North Philadelphia. Their story about Dr. Bertley will appear in the upcoming book, Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities 2016, to be published in May.
Dr. Bertley will be featured in the book as one of 12 leaders in the Philadelphia area who are making the community healthier. The book is the fifth published by Healthy NewsWorks, which oversees school-based health media programs at Hope and 13 other schools in the Philadelphia area. To learn more about the book project, see our making of the 2015 book video.
During the interview at Hope, the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, who spent six lunch hours preparing for the interview, asked Dr. Bertley questions ranging from good eating habits, to his job, to advice for a successful life.
“What do you do to eat healthy?” said Diwud.
“What should I do, or do I do?” Dr. Bertley said with a laugh. “I try to eat healthy.” He also regularly exercises, drinks a lot of water, and takes time to unwind after stressful situations, he said. Dr. Bertley quickly pivoted to make a point about how the healthiest food is natural.
What’s in an apple, he asked. They answered with the obvious ingredient: “apple.” And what’s in a Big Mac? Aside from meat of some kind, the kids couldn’t say.
Kenyetta asked Dr. Bertley how The Franklin Institute makes children healthier. Dr. Bertley replied by describing a sports exhibit that shows how a healthy lifestyle leads to stronger muscles.
Aspiring scientist Shyann sought Dr. Bertley’s advice to kids wanting to become scientists.
“Don’t give up on your dreams. … You can do whatever you like,” he said. “Study things you enjoy.”
After the interview, the Healthy Hope journalists contemplated the story they would write about the interview.
One of the key points, Nakeya said, would be: “It’s important to learn about health. The healthier you are, the longer you live.” Added Zahir: “Stay healthy.”
Xaria offered, “Keep your head up and keep moving forward.”
—By Carolyn Davis, Healthy NewsWorks volunteer