Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Listening to voices of Curie High students

We've got an exciting new project brewing with Curie Youth Radio, a group of students at Curie Metro High School at Pulaski and Archer, near Midway Airport. The students in Sarah Levine's classroom have put together some terrific pieces about their own lives and their neighborhoods, and we're going to tap their talents and enthusiasm to create an insider's guide to neighborhood places, people or events.

Fellow scribe Maureen Kelleher and I sat down with Levine yesterday in Curie's busy English Department offices, where teacher desks are jammed one against another almost like the newsrooms of the old days. An inspiring place for me, especially as Levine hatched a plan to engage her 16 students in exploring their neighborhoods, finding suitable subjects and then doing the reporting, writing and audio-editing to bring those stories to others.

We envision podcasts and web-accessible vignettes that we will promote widely as a form of tourism material as well as a peek into the students' neighborhoods, which include Little Village, Pilsen, Brighton Park and South Shore. In the process we'll learn from the students about how audio production is done and how to spread their stories across the internet.

WBEZ ran one of the Curie pieces just this week and interviewed students Destiny Collazo and Mark Poore. It's worth a listen.

There's more where that came from on the Curie site, or you can subscribe to their podcasts by going to the iTunes store and searching for Curie Youth Radio. One piece is a son's story about his mother, titled "My Plate Full, Yours Empty" by Abdel Mutan. WBEZ featured that piece last year.

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