Sharing our Stories With the Future


Photo Credit: Luiza Decenzi

Ms. Rotchford and one of her students, Jordyn Bruni, who participated in the narrative project.

Luiza Decenzi, Reporter

Students walk through the Boise High hallways day after day, year after year. They graduate and their stories are a faint memory. “What were they like?” That’s a question Ms. Rotchford’s and her class asked themselves while looking at the frames of graduating classes.

“I thought it would be interesting for people here at Boise High to share their stories and to be able to connect with other students in ways that we don’t normally connect,” Rotchford stated, “what a better way for a hundred years from now, for students to be able to tell their stories to the future students.”

This very idea developed into an intriguing project with the goal of memorializing students’ stories and lives in short pieces writing. The unique part is when each student is paired up with someone whom they do not normally talk to. Each pair goes on to interview and record themselves explaining the stories they have written.

The narrative project gives students a voice with which they can share their thoughts and perspective, and then have the ability to share it with other people. “I thought that this might be a different way for the community of Boise High to connect with each other, and maybe feel a little bit less alone,” Ms. Rochford added.

Students seemed to agree with their teacher’s point of view, such were the cases of Scott Farmer and Jordyn Bruni. “It gave me a chance to get into a side of storytelling that I haven’t really seen before,” Farmer noted, “it was not only helpful but captivating.” Bruni also had a similar opinion, “I thought it was a really good way to get in touch with some of the students around my school and… get a little bit of a deeper understanding of who they were as people.”

The importance of this project in the minds of students was outlined by Farmer, “there’s a lot more depth to storytelling,” and, “a lot of students do connect with an assignment on an emotional level rather than just getting their work done.”

“The importance of this project was to understand that everyone has a different upbringing and everyone has a different story to them,” Bruni added. Her thoughts, similar to Ms. Rotchford’s, address the idea that the project connects the Boise High community in a way that has not been done before.

“I think that it made them nervous, we don’t often ask and aren’t often asked to share stories and maybe be a little vulnerable with each other,” said Rotchford, explaining her take on the overall reaction, “That’s why I think it is really important for students to be able to choose their stories so that they could choose a story that they felt comfortable sharing.”

The discomfort, however, seemed to wear of rapidly as students enjoyed the finished outcome. “It was actually really intimidating,” disclosed Bruni, “but other than that it felt good at the very end.”

The importance of this project not only extends to students, but builds a connection with their teachers as well. “When you give students a chance to tell their stories, you never know what you are going to hear,” Rotchford mentioned, “I’ve shed a tear, I’ve laughed at some stories, some stories have made me think.” Rotchford added to the idea saying, “I’m able to see my students more for who the individuals that they are as a whole person, rather than just at playing the role of a student.”

On the matter of her goals and hopes for the future of this project, Ms. Rotchford revealed, “My goal is to try to get it so that after this year, each successive year of juniors, as many as possible, are able to share their stories so that we can continue to keep that archive.” She continued, “it’s important for us, from a historical perspective to document who we are and how we live in this particular moment.”

These recordings will have a place at the 2019 Boise High Summit and hopefully in the Boise High hallways, where other students can appreciate the similarities and differences between each other’s perspective.

“Our plan,” Ms. Rotchford explained, “is to have listening stations in the library, Mrs. Rush is going to help me with this, and we are going to take all of the stories and put them into batches of five or ten that students can come by and listen to those stories as part of the workshop, and get an idea of who they are going to school with.”

If you get a chance, stop by the library on March 13th during the 2019 Boise High Summit, and listen to a few of the stories told by Ms. Rotchford’s class to get a better understanding of the everyday lives of students around the school.