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Scholastic Kids Press Corps
The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of about 50 Kid Reporters around the nation.  The interactive site brings daily news to life with reporting for kids, by kids.
kid reporter cassandra hsiao fbi agent george olivo Scholastic News Kid Reporter Cassandra Hsiao with FBI agent George Olivo at Palos Verdes Intermediate School in Los Angeles, California. (Photo courtesy Cassandra Hsiao)

I'm [insert name], FBI

Do you have what it takes to be a Fed?

By Cassandra Hsiao | null null , null

The life of an FBI agent may not be exactly what you expect—especially if your idea of an agent is based on scenes from movies.

"To be an FBI agent you have to be a U.S. citizen of at least 23 years of age, have a 4-year college degree, and pass a polygraph test," said George Olivo, who has been working in the FBI Los Angeles division for the last 13 years. "But the most important thing is you must have strong character and core values."

Olivo organizes motivation talks to elementary and middle school students. Recently, he spoke to 300 6th graders at the Palos Verdes Intermediate School in Los Angeles, California. He focused much of his talk on peer pressure.

"Many people think that peer pressure is like a river, and you are on a raft," he said. "They think that if the flow is going the wrong way, you can simply jump off the raft and onto the banks of the river."

To demonstrate his idea of what peer pressure is like, Olivo showed a clip from the Disney movie Lion King. In the clip, Simba is running for his life as he is chased by a stampede of wildebeests. The branch he hangs onto is his lifesaver. As it breaks, his father Mufasa grabs him and throws him to safety. Olivo explained that the only way to escape peer pressure is to hold on to good character like Simba hung on to the branch.

Olivo also talked about how to become an agent.

"The first step in becoming an FBI agent is the step you're taking right now," Olivo told the students. "Before you can be trusted with large things, you must first prove yourself in smaller things."

Students applauded enthusiastically at the end of the presentation.

"I learned that peer pressure can pull you down and it is hard to resist," Julianna B., 11, told the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps.

"I thought it was interesting how you don't look at the outside of a person but inside of them," said Erin K., 12. "If you go on the wrong turn, it could mess up your life."

"I learned that peer pressure can influence your decisions," said Blake P.,11.

Being part of the FBI is a joy for Olivo.

"I think just being able to represent the United States in this capacity is an honor for me," Olivo said. "Being trusted by our nation to defend against terrorist attacks and against people who want to do this country harm is a privilege."

Kid Reporter Cassandra Hsiao writes about her own experience as a speaker on career day at a school in Los Angeles at the Scholastic Kids Press Corps Blog.

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