When we rolled up to Salinas, Calif., we had no idea wed be getting schooled….middle schooled, that is! La Paz Middle School teachers Natasha Castro and Melissa Rodriguez had incorporated StoryCorps arrival in Salinas into their 7th Grade curriculum. They invited Site Supervisor Whitney Henry-Lester and me to do a presentation for their classes. Then, they set up appointments for some of their students to come to the MobileBooth and record stories.
The students came to the interviews prepared with questions for their teachers and family members. We were impressed with how well they listened to their conversation partners and how interesting and surprising their questions were. Jose Arroyo and his Aunt Yesenia talked about the importance of education and her experiences coming to the United States as a young girl. Jose Cruz and Ms. Rodriguez talked about dealing with the concerns and difficulties of growing up, and their hopes for the future.
Greg Arias interviewed his father Gregorio about his childhood and all his favorite pastimes like fishing in nearby Watsonville and going to the amusement park on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Alma Ochoa even got her mother Maria to sing a bit of her and her husbands favorite song! Jaleny Zavala interviewed Ms. Castro and Alexandra Puga and Lizbeth Garibay each interviewed their mothers, Janet and Maria.
The stories did not stop at the MobileBooth; while only seven students from Ms. Rodriguezs and Ms. Castros classes came to the Booth, all of the classes made recordings on their own. Heres hoping they keep up the listening long after the semester is over.