Experiences with bullying, a dying mother and an absent father were just a few of the examples of students sharing their stories and raising their voices during the launch of the Voices of Bentonville project at Bentonville High School.
The project started as an exercise in memoir writing for the students. It grew to become a website that involved the whole community in posting their own stories.
“Now that we have shared our stories, we want to hear yours,” Isabel Neal, a Bentonville High School junior said to several dozen students, parents and School District employees during a Voices of Bentonville launch party.
The memoir writing project was developed by English III teachers Holly Howard, Christine Steward, and Zach Jostad. They wanted to engage students and offer them an outlet for discussing their experiences. The intent was to create unity in a diverse community.
“They had spent the first half of the year working on literary analysis and argumentative essays, but it was with these personal accounts of joy, pain, laughter, loss and regret that they began to thrive,” Jostad said.