We’ve been talking about immigration in class this week, discussing the idea that everyone has a story of moving from one thing to another. New country…new state…new city…new street…new place in life. I asked the students to interview someone in their lives about their unique story and write a short summary of what they discovered.

Many of the writings were wonderful to read, but I’m posting one that was especially nice. I think the student – Elise – did a beautiful job of capturing a compelling snapshot of life and transition. I told her that I’d love to read the full story when she writes her book.

“Marilyn M. – my grandmother – moved to Oregon from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. She moved here in the mid-1950s with her mother, her father, and two of her three brothers. She came because her father got a job as a salesman from a man he knew from the Navy in World War Two. He sold tractors.”

This reminds me of the StoryCorps Project that the Library of Congress and National Public Radio (NPR) have been doing for several years. Ordinary people are recorded telling the extaordinary stories of their lives. The recordings are then archived in the Library of Congress, with selected stories played on the website and on NPR. (Click this link to find out more.)

I interviewed my Grandmother for a video documentary I did in college. It was a powerful experience, learning about my family history and seeing a new side of my Grandmother. When we are done with our Election Project and Science Fair, I plan on having the students make video and audio productions sharing some of the extraordinary stories from their life. Too many stories slip away from us before they are told and shared with others.

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