The Martha Ross Teaching Award, 2011 was awarded to Rosie Uyola, for the Edison High School Story Corps project, providing a safe space and hands-on learning among children of diverse backgrounds.
Here is her statement describing the project:
EHS Story Corps
In 2008, I co-founded the Multimedia Academy at Edison High School to promote the use of oral history by children ages 13 through 19. The mission of the academy is to create opportunities for racially, ethnically, religiously, and economically diverse students to interview each other and residents of Edison Township in order to encourage civic engagement and community outreach. The ultimate goal of the academy’s “EHS Story Corps” project (inspired by the StoryCorps project of National Public Radio) is to create a safe space and a hands-on learning environment that facilitates an understanding of our shared humanity among children of increasingly divergent backgrounds.
Learning and Teaching
Through the academy’s “EHS Story Corps” project, I am able to enhance learning for students from varied academic levels, many of whom are classified as special educational and 504 plan learners. Oral history enables me to create projects that strengthen and build the connections between students at EHS, children and their family members (many have interviewed their siblings, parents, and grand-parents), teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters. My students are empowered by their work because we are creating an archive of student voices and experiences for our school and the Edison community, across generations. I am building the “EHS Story Corps” digital archive to preserve footage both online and in physical format for future students to use in a variety of classes, including history, social studies, civics and justice, ethics, English, literature, American studies, technology, and history. Beyond graduation, EHS Academy participants are well versed in oral history best practices and methodologies, skills that are invaluable for any career track.
Rosie Uyola is a teacher at Edison High School in Edison, New Jersey, and Ph.D. student in American Studies at Rutger’s University.