The question on the minds of Fredonia middle schoolers Tuesday afternoon was un-doubtedly "what would you do?"
During an assembly, the host of the ABC show "What Would You Do?" and "20-20", John Quinones, visited Fredonia Middle School. The visit was prompted by essays Cathy Casini-Steger's fifth-grade English class submitted to the show.
Casini-Steger had been using segments from the network show as reading and writing prompts when she decided to have the kids send essays to the show in conjunction with an essay contest it was conducting.
TV show's host talks with students
Although the students were a little too young to win the contest - winners had to be 21 years or older - the essays were so touching the host decided to visit.
Quinones was warmly greeted by an auditorium full of middle schoolers all wondering "what would I do?" in one of the ethical dilemmas proposed by the hit TV show.
"What we do .. we put hidden cameras in different places and then we create something with actors. We create an ethical dilemma, a situation to see how people will react ... Some people mind their own business, some people don't want to be involved, some people step in and say something and some people do the safest thing and this is what I would suggest for kids, is call 911 ... You never know who's going to do what," Quinones said.
OBSERVER Photo by Matt Panebianco
Fredonia middle schoolers listened intently at the assembly Tuesday to John Quinones, host of “What Would You Do?”
The hidden camera show has now shown the reactions of hundreds of everyday people to ethical scenarios put on by actors.
Quinones showed a clip of a bullying scenario for the students to watch and understand the premise of the show.
"What I'm really amazed at is how many young people watch the show. We're told all the time that schools are now using our videos in their classrooms to talk about social psychology and why certain people do certain things. Parents watch the show at home with their kids," he added.
"I want you to remember, whenever you hear that little voice in the back of your head tells you something's not right, step in, and don't do it because you're going to be on television or because you're going to get money for it. Do it because your heart tells you it's the right thing to do," he said.
As well as having the assembly, Quinones interviewed some of the Fredonia middle schoolers and passed out "What would you do?" hats.
The interviews and assembly were filmed and will reportedly appear on ABC on Tuesday, Feb. 22, in a special airing of "What Would You Do?"
Quinones dreamed of being a reporter as a child and has been a reporter for ABC for more than 25 years.
"At your age I loved reporting, that's all I wanted to do ... I would watch television and see these reporters in Africa and Vietnam and these fascinating places and I dreamed that one day I would be doing that, and guess what? The dream seemed far, far away because I was born in Texas and I only spoke Spanish because I'm Mexican-American and my family only spoke Spanish ... It was really tough for me to dream my dream and the possibility of someday making this dream come true seemed like it was not going to happen because my father was a janitor, my mom used to clean houses for a living, we had very little money ... I'm telling you all this because I want you to know that it doesn't matter where you come from, how much money your family has, how difficult things seem for you to accomplish some day, how far away your dream may feel. If you believe in yourself and shoot for the stars, dreams come true and I'm a perfect example of that," Quinones said.
"What Would You Do?" airs on ABC on Fridays at 9 p.m., although the episode with Fredonia middle schoolers will air Tuesday night. Check your local listings for the exact time.