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.
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.
Tierra Jackson, age 23, talks to John Horan, the president of her high school, about what her life was like when they first met.
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.
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.
Ngoc Nguyen talks with her GED instructor Chris Myers about her childhood and the impact his teaching has had on her.
High school English teacher Alexia Dukes speaks with her mentor and colleague, Maria Rivera, about teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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