For years, StoryCorps has worked closely with schools to provide teachers and students with resources for recording the stories of people they admire. With the new school year just around the corner, we’re sharing a few of these voices. Listen to stories from current and former students and educators as they share the memories they carry from school, and stories that can ignite conversations in the classroom.

You can honor a student or educator in your life with a StoryCorps interview like these. Just download the StoryCorps App to record your conversation and upload it directly to the Archive, housed at the Library of Congress. Or, if an in-person interview isn’t possible, use StoryCorps Connect to conduct it remotely.
“I think you should get half my diploma.”
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A Special Kind of Thank You

Cole Phillips became blind shortly before he began high school. The late Rugenia Keefe was the paraprofessional assigned to help Cole. The two came to rely on each other’s humor and humility.

"As if high school is not hard enough…"
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“As If High School Is Not Hard Enough”

Tierra Jackson, age 23, talks to John Horan, the president of her high school, about what her life was like when they first met.

School’s Out

As Black families were pushed out of his town of Sheridan, AR, Reverend James Seawood recalls how his mother became the principal, janitor, and more to ensure Black students had access to an education.

"I did think I was the smartest person in class. But I realized that you were gonna give me a run for my money."
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50 Years After Desegregation, Two Classmates Remember

A half-century after the milestone Supreme Court case Alexander v. Holmes, former classmates Natalie Guice Adams and Eli Brown reflect together for the first time on life after court-ordered desegregation.

“I feel like I have wings now.”
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Don’t Let Anybody Tell You That You Can’t

Ngoc Nguyen talks with her GED instructor Chris Myers about her childhood and the impact his teaching has had on her.

"You have this unique ability to — even in the darkest times — just tell people it's going to be okay."
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Two Teachers on Supporting Their Students and Each Other During the Pandemic

High school English teacher Alexia Dukes speaks with her mentor and colleague, Maria Rivera, about teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In my old school, I never went to class."
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Wanting the Best for Your Students, Even When They Don’t See It

When Sarah Benko first began tutoring Meliza Arellano, the two did not hit it off. They sat down to look back on the year when Meliza became a serious student.

"You showed me that I'm not alone."
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“You Always Have a Family Here.”

Warning: this story discusses child abuse.

At the time when Rogelio Martinez enrolled in Lisa Moya King’s high school dance class, his family members were abusing him. Years later, Rogelio talks with Lisa about how she took care of him when he needed it.

"He said, 'You make sure you call that teacher.'"
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An Unexpected Phone Call

Eighth grade science teacher Al Siedlecki, or “Mr. Sie,” was helping a group of students study for a test when he received a surprise phone call from former student Lee Buono, now a neurosurgeon.

"I always walk them through the lunch line…"
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The Cost of Lunch

Kenny Thompson, a volunteer mentor, discovered that some kids he worked with couldn’t afford school lunch. He spoke with students Gary Barber and Dakota Gibson about the weight of paying for school lunches, and what his help meant to them.

Lessons Learned

From the first roll call of the 1964 school year, Dr. Weaver knew his new teachers didn’t have his success in mind. Luckily, one former teacher did.

“I realized, wow, somebody else has these feelings. This isn’t just me.”
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50 Years Later: Giving Thanks to the Teacher Who Changed His Life

Russell King sat down with his elementary school music teacher Paige Macklin to tell her about how she changed his life with a musical number.

"You were just doing what you felt you needed to do for us to be better people."
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How A Dedicated Teacher Turned Into A Lifelong Friend

6th grade math teacher Raymond Blanks speaks with his former 7th grade teacher and friend, Sean Lloyd, about how Sean inspired him to follow in his footsteps.

The Saint of Dry Creek

As a teenager, Patrick Haggerty began to understand he was gay — something he thought he was hiding well. One day after performing at a high school assembly, he learned that his father could see him more clearly than he realized.

"What was the hardest thing that happened to you in Iraq?"
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“that’s what sets people apart, is that desire to know more, and you do that.”

Erik Booker is a seventh grade social studies teacher who served more than 20 years in the United States Army, including two deployments to Iraq. He never mentioned his time in the military  to his class, but one student noticed the common mannerisms that he shared with her father, who was also a veteran.

Some stories for your classroom…

Over the summer, we unveiled an animation season titled “History Lessons,” that pays tribute to the defining moments that have shaped our history as we know it today. We’re bringing history to life like never before, showcasing the defining moments that have shaped our world today through the eyes of the people who lived them.

The Echoes of War

In early 1943, U.S. Army Sergeant Harrison Wright was drafted into World War II. When the war ended, he was stationed in a small village in Belgium near the border with Germany. At StoryCorps, he talks to his grandson, Sean Guess, about the honorable way he paid tribute to his fallen comrades on such a momentous occasion.

The Busboy

On June 5, 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy won California’s Democratic primary in his bid to become President of the United States. That night, Senator Kennedy delivered his victory speech at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where 17-year-old Juan Romero was working as a hotel busboy. Juan came to StoryCorps to remember the tragic historical event that followed and how it impacted his life.

The Room

Debra Fisher’s father, Oscar — a Holocaust survivor — was imprisoned in Auschwitz concentration camp when he was a teenager. Growing up, Debra longed to learn her father’s story, but he protected her from his painful memories and only shared the sanitized version of his reality. At StoryCorps, Debra reflects on the moment her father finally opened up about the truth of his experience.

Role Models

Now a Reverend, Farrell Duncombe was once a mischievous young boy. Growing up in 1950s Montgomery, Alabama, he had role models who kept him in line, including his father, the pastor of their church, and his Sunday school teacher, Rosa Parks. Farrell went on to become a public school band teacher, then principal, and later, pastor of his childhood church. At StoryCorps, Reverend Farrell reflected on the people who nurtured him and the humility he felt standing at his father’s pulpit.

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