The 7-year-old came to the talk about the future with a narrow piece of paper in hand.
"In case I forgot," she said with a serious look.
Karissa Kanera, 7, wants to be a veterinarian, or maybe a teacher.
A slip of a girl with blond hair and an elfin face, Briana Gangelhoff said she wanted a cure for glaucoma so a grandparent could see again. And there would be a robot to help out with household chores. And a little homework. What would it look like? "A plain old robot," she said.
Primed with a little help in recent talks of social justice or perhaps with a heightened sense of community awareness, the six children have wishes for a better world. Just what their parents would no doubt envision as well.
Lance Zetah, 7, hopes for a more peaceful future.
"I wish people could have homes who live on the roads," Karissa Kanera, 7, said. Cassie Tripp, 7, who spoke softly, said she would like to tell her people about God. Lance Zetah, 7, hoped for an end to war and people killing other people.
"Hey you are taking my answers," said 7-year-old Jesse Logelin, adding he hoped people would stop stealing.
Jacob Kucera, 7, wants to build houses in the future.
The children -- some of who delayed their milk break to talk -- met, perhaps appropriately, in the computer lab at Garfield Elementary School in northeast Brainerd.
Meet members of the Class of 2011.
Briana Gangelhoff, 7, says she is not in a hurry to grow up.
In 11 short years they will be on the cusp of taking roles as future leaders, graduating from high school, starting careers, gaining more education. A decade is enough to change how they see the world in the speed that the Internet changed life in the 1990s.
What kind of cars will they drive, what jobs will they hold, what homes will they seek? No one knows for certain. And when the known world is the life of a first grader, even posing the question seems futuristic.
Will people travel to other planets in the future?
"Yes," Jacob Kucera, 7, said. "Awesome."
The students, ready to laugh and with the short attention spans expected from their age group, had plenty of energy. They come from Deerwood, Brainerd and Baxter. As any generation, they are a mix of old and new. They play games their parents never imagined -- like Pokmon. And they play the traditional board games their parents knew well. Not all of them have a home computer, but the majority do.
While the idea of being adults themselves takes a little imagination, they already had thoughts about life after school.
Cassie wants to be a preacher. Karissa, between giggles hidden behind her hands, said she wanted to be a veterinarian. A job that also appealed to pet lovers, Cassie and Briana. The idea of teaching also appealed to the girls.
And then I can learn more about things too," Karissa said of being a teacher.
The boys were a little more hands-on. Jacob wants to build houses. He said his personal house may be as big as Garfield Elementary. Jesse wants to work as a roofer.
"I wish I could draw like an artist," Lance said, adding he has a monster set and likes to draw them as well.
And growing up was not something the first graders were inclined to rush, even in their experience of the fast-paced living of American society.
"I wish I could stay a kid forever, because you don't have to walk slow and take naps," Briana said. "You get to play. And you can still run."
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