2001: Memories Are Made Of This
The objects looked ordinary to the casual observer: a model boat, a toy train set, a couple of hand-made dresses. An old pipe, some ticket stubs and an angel doll. But for the students who held them, the objects opened a flood of memories.
That was the whole idea behind this documentary made by University High School students. The program features 10 Uni High sub-freshman each talking about an object that was important in his or her life because of the relationships it symbolizes or emotions it represents. For example, a boy’s model boat was the catalyst for a conversation about the grandfather who helped him build it, teaching him to use hand tools and providing a loving influence in his life. A girl’s hand-made dresses symbolized her relationship with her fun-loving Afghani grandmother. The toy train set was a boy’s only link with his biological grandfather who abandoned the family when the boy’s father was 3.
WILL reporter Dave Dickey, who helped student producers Kate Peisker and Emily Bruce make the documentary, said he thinks listeners will identify with many of the students’ memories. “It makes you think about people and events in your own life that have been important to you. You can’t help but feel you’re a part of the stories,” said Dickey.
The documentary started with a project in Barbara Wysocki’s ancient history classes. All 60 of her students selected an object and taped a story about its importance in their lives. Student producers selected 10 of the stories for the documentary.
Students also displayed the objects and their written stories in an exhibit at the Uni High library in October during a class unit on museum displays. “We had to work with the students a bit to get them to open up,” said Wysocki. “Many of them talked about grandparents, others about friendships, and death or loss,” she said.
Wysocki has worked with six different groups of students to create documentaries for WILL radio. This year’s student producers put in about 100 hours on the project, says Dickey. “It’s exciting to introduce young people to radio production. After all, this is the TV generation and the computer generation,” he said.