Thanksgiving Listen

BHS Speech Students Participate in Nationwide Thanksgiving Program
Posted on 12/06/2021

Thanksgiving break is typically a time for high school students to get caught up on rest and family time. For one group of local students, this Thanksgiving was a time to make history.

Last week, eighteen Boonville High School students in Mrs. Kelly Smith’s dual credit college Speech class participated in a nationwide program sponsored by StoryCorps, called “The Great Thanksgiving Listen.” Students were tasked with recording an interview with an elder during their break. Their interviews will be stored in the StoryCorps archive within the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

“I wanted the students to hear their family stories straight from their grandparents and parents.There is so much history around those Thanksgiving tables, and having it recorded to pass downto future generations is a gift,” said Kelly Smith, BHS Speech instructor.

“I’m so glad we did this,” said senior BHS student Audrey Langlotz, who interviewed her grandfather Taylor Woods. “I’m going to be very glad to have this recording down the road.”

Parents and grandparents shared love stories, regrets, advice, sources of pride, and more, oftenmoving both interviewer and interviewee to tears.

In one instance, a connection was even made between two students’ stories. Senior Jordyn Williamson’s grandfather, Jim Lammers, was sharing the story of his birth when he mentioned the name of a neighbor who assisted in his birth. That neighbor was the great-great grandmotherof another student, Abi Inskeep, who happened to be sitting right next to Jordyn.

Senior Luke Green called his interview with his dad, Joe, “a bonding experience. I feel like he shared his wisdom with me.”

Per StoryCorps’ website, “Founded in 2003 by Dave Isay, StoryCorps has given people of all backgrounds and beliefs, in thousands of towns and cities in all 50 states, the chance to record interviews about their lives [...] Over 600,000 interviews have been recorded to date.”

Boonville High School Principal Kenya Fuemmeler said, "One of the key pillars of a Boonville education is for students to become contributing citizens. By participating in the StoryCorps project our students directly met the mission of our district and served in preserving the history of our great country through the Library of Congress. Hopefully this project sparked a desire for our students to continue listening and learning from those around them."