Making the Grade

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#264: “Making the Grade”
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Proverbs 12:1

1Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.

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Making the Grade

“Making the Grade” is episode #264 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Paul McCusker, and originally aired on April 16, 1994.


Jimmy Barclay discovers that all that "worthless stuff" he neglected to learn in school was more important than he thought.


The Barclays are celebrating Mary's pregnancy and George's acceptance into seminary. At the celebration, Jimmy tells his father that he thinks he’d like to be a paramedic someday. George thinks it’s a wonderful idea and wholeheartedly encourages Jimmy.

The next day, Jimmy meets with a career counselor who enters Jimmy’s career goal into a special computer. It matches Jimmy’s goal with his current educational status. The counselor will present the results to a paramedic, whom Jimmy and others in his class will later visit. To prepare for the meeting, Jimmy borrows a dummy to practice CPR.

Then Lawrence Hodges shows up to talk with Jimmy. Lawrence is upset. Lately, he’s had trouble getting his schoolwork done. Now, his mother is really badgering him about doing his science homework. Jimmy empathizes with Lawrence, but he continues practicing mouth-to-mouth on the dummy.

At the meeting, one of the first things the paramedic tells Jimmy and the others is that the job involves much more than driving around in ambulances and giving people mouth-to-mouth. Later, the paramedic also informs Jimmy that the profession involves a lot of math and science. Jimmy doesn’t believe him until the paramedic grills Jimmy with several math- and science-related questions that are frequently used in paramedic work.

Jimmy returns home that night, feeling defeated. George comforts him. George reveals that he, too, is unsure of himself, especially now that he’s heard how demanding seminary is. But George has resolved to just buckle down and develop the discipline to do the job. He wants to be the best minister possible. Jimmy understands. He agrees to take math and science more seriously, and he starts by going over to Lawrence’s house and helping him with his homework.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why didn’t Lawrence want to do his homework?
    • Have you ever felt that way?
  2. What’s the best way to develop discipline?
  3. Why does it take so much math and science to be a paramedic?
  4. What do you want to be when you grow up?
    • Are you studying hard for it right now?
      • Why or why not?


Heard in episode

Role Voice Actor
Destructo Agent Marshal Younger
David Unknown
Donna Barclay Azure Janosky
George Barclay Chuck Bolte
Mrs. Henderson A-Jay James
Jimmy Barclay David Griffin
Lawrence Hodges Gabriel Encarnacion
Mary Barclay Carol Bilger
Maureen Hodges Janet Waldo
Steve Isaacs John Nisbet

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Stewart Reed Barclay Jimmy Barclay




Steve Isaacs: These are math and science questions, the answer being critical to saving a person's life.
Jimmy Barclay: (discouraged) Right...

Destructo Agent: Open up, Hodges! We know you're in there!
Lawrence Hodges: Oh, no! Destructo!
Destructo Agent: Open up! Or we'll huff, and we'll puff, and we'll... knock your door in!

Jimmy Barclay: Maybe I'll run off with the circus and become a lion tamer.
Donna Barclay: You'd probably have to get good grades in zoology.
Jimmy Barclay: Then I'll become a pilot.
Donna Barclay: Engineering, physics, aeronautics...
Jimmy Barclay: A bus driver.
Donna Barclay: Mechanics, math, civil law!
Jimmy Barclay: Well, then I'll become a politician!
Donna Barclay: (pauses) Hmm. Well you've got me there.

Lawrence Hodges: But I don't like science, Mom! In fact I hate science! I'd rather have splinters pushed under my toenails, and South African killer bees cover my whole body than do any more science homework!
Maureen Hodges: That can be arranged.