Eleventh Graders Creating History with StoryCorps

Upper School English Teacher Molly Dewitt challenged her 11th-grade students to do more than just eat their share of turkey during the Thanksgiving break. Students were asked to participate in the Great Thanksgiving Listen. The objective? Interview an elder family member about his or her life experiences and personal history.

The Great Thanksgiving Listen is a national movement that empowers young people—and people of all ages—to create an oral history of the contemporary United States by recording an interview using the free StoryCorps app. These interviews are then added to StoryCorps archive of more than 75,000 interviews at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. To date, thousands of high schools have participated.

Libby Snowden ’20 interviewed Patricia Britz who runs the Haiti Twinning Ministry at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Libby knew Britz had an amazing story to tell. “I knew Mrs. Britz would be the perfect person to interview. I loved being able to connect with her during this process.”

Listen to Libby’s interview with Britz here.

Ashley Stack ’20 spoke to her grandfather, Bernie Weiss, “because he has had such an impact on my life and has molded me into the person I am today.”

Ashley talked to her grandfather about what it was like growing up in the middle of the 20th century.

Listen to Libby’s interview with her grandfather here.

Braeden Thomson ’20 spoke with Maia Donohue, co-director of 3 Day Startup, who visited Norfolk Collegiate in November.

“I’d not originally intend to interview Mr. Donohue,” he said. “After hearing him speak, I saw an opportunity to interview him and create a unique story while acquiring valuable insight on his keys to success.”

Listen to Braeden ask Donohue about entrepreneurship, philosophy and even his favorite novels here.  

Skyler Tessler ’20 interviewed her grandmother, Beth Reshfesky, to preserve her thoughts and feelings “so she’ll always be with me.”

Listen to Reshfesky’s take on life here.

Jenny Kim ’20 conducted an interview with her mother in their native language of Korean. Jenny said her mother has always been a role model for her, and she inspires her to be a better version of herself every day.

One of the questions Jenny asked was: “What is your happiest childhood memory?” Jenny’s mother replied:

“When I first learned to ski. I was in sixth grade, and it was so fun. I realized there was a sport out there I actually enjoyed, and I wanted to be an athlete. The first day I got the lesson, I was able to ski the most difficult ski course. After that, every winter I couldn’t wait to go skiing.”

You, too, can archive incredible, historical stories. Learn more about how you can participate at storycorps.org.