Why I Chose “What’s the Story?”

I am the one who is aware. Consistent with reading the daily news, both local and national, I joined WTS with ambitions to grow as a writer, journalist, and activist. Since I could read, writing has been my favorite form of self-expression; I wrote stories, newspapers, poems, plays, etc. I also loved reading, a hobby I enriched myself in whenever I had free time. Around age 13, I started reading the news, and I was hooked. I listened to it while walking to school, read it during lunch, and watched it when I got home. As a result, I gained a greater consciousness of the world around me; I knew I wanted to make a difference and have a voice. When my sophomore English teacher suggested WTS, I’ll admit, I was a little weary at first. To an aspiring journalist like me, I was tempted, but already had a lot on my plate: being co-editor of the BFA yearbook, student council, NHS, two AP classes, and a college class at CCV (did I mention that being ambitious has its downfalls too?). However, I realized the opportunity outweighed the risk: the chance to throw myself out into the community and create an in-depth story beside students who share my passions. After attending my first WTS meeting, I did not regret my decision one bit. The teachers and students involved, I learned, are full of passion and drive; they inspire an atmosphere of activism and comradery. I believe that WTS will be a positive experience for me, and I look forward to the journey ahead.

Elizabeth Pietras

10 Responses to “Why I Chose “What’s the Story?”

  • [WTS teachers and students] “….I learned, are full of passion and drive; they inspire an atmosphere of activism and comradery.”

    Elizabeth,

    What’s the Story Vermont: in this atmosphere of activism and comradery, the opportunity is sure to be worth the risk. Adventures ahead.

    Dixie Goswami
    Bread Loaf NextGen Network

  • Elizabeth,

    It’s so great to hear some of the reasons you are excited about WTS, and I look forward to hearing more about your passions.

    I was going to say something about being busy (overloaded, even?), and following your dreams, but Dixie said it beautifully! “Adventures ahead”!

    -Abigail

  • Hi Elizabeth,
    I enjoyed your post! I really like how you described yourself as “aware”. I aspire to be more aware of what is happening in the world.
    What about the news do you like? Do you ever get overwhelmed, sad about some things that are happening? (I do for sure)

    What topics are you most interested in?
    Thanks,
    Mary

    • Hey Mary

      Thank you! I too, hope to be more aware; it seems that there’s always so much going on in the world that we don’t know about. I tend to lean more towards news that covers both political and social issues. One of the issues I’m currently following more intently than the rest is the current increase in sex trafficking, both locally and internationally. I do tend to get overwhelmed or upset over current problems, sex trafficking being one of them. It is becoming bigger than the illegal industry and gets much less news coverage than it deserves. Thank you for your questions!

      Elizabeth

  • Jeanie Phillips
    2 years ago

    Hi Elizabeth,

    It sounds like you have found your people: motivated and engaged students and adults! I’m really excited to follow your journey as an activist and writer. I’d love to know more about the connection between consuming news and wanting to have a voice and make a difference. Does the news inspire you to want to speak and act up? I’m also interested in the sources you most value for local and national news. Are they the same ones you hope to one day write for?

    Looking forward to reading more of your words!
    best,
    Jeanie

    • Hey Jeanie

      To answer your first question simply, it depends on the news. When I read the news, one of two things happen; either I get annoyed, or I want to “speak and act up,” as you say. This is because, as mentioned in the last WTS meeting, news can be separated into two main categories: issues we can’t influence, and issues we can. The allegations against Kavanaugh, supreme justice nominee, annoy me since the issue is out of my influence. Issues such as drug and sex trafficking, homelessness, and gun control are different; I have the potential to impact these. In regards to your second question, I believe local and national news are equally important. I’m not sure which kind I’d like to write for yet, since there are both negative and positive aspects in each. Thank you for your questions!

      Elizabeth

  • I really like how you said that reading the news has helped you gain “a greater consciousness of the world” around yourself. Having this skill is important in a time when people are less aware of the world that they live in. Being a writer, journalist, and an activist will be very helpful in your WTS group because you will have a lot of experience interviewing and writing informative articles. What topics interest you or get under your skin?
    I also liked how you talked about getting more involved in the community. What is one way you could do that? Getting involved in the community is a great way to feel more connected and help others that may be less fortunate.

    • Hey Gabe

      I am very passionate about women’s rights in African and Asian countries, where there are some of the highest female mortality rates in the world. I am currently involved with my community through volunteerism, although I’ve been seeking other ways to contribute.

      – Elizabeth

  • Elizabeth,

    I’m Bob Uhl, an English teacher at Tuttle Middle School in South Burlington and a coach for What’s the Story. I missed our kickoff event, but I look forward to meeting you at our next in-person meeting.

    Heck of a first entry!

    First, I’d like to say I applaud your ambition to become a journalist. Sounds like you’ve got your thumb on the pulse of the news, and you’ve clearly know your way around the written word. This is just a small thing, but I appreciate your use of semicolons. Maybe it’s because I work with middle schoolers, but I seldom see them employed in students’ writing–much less correctly!

    I think your assessment of the risks versus rewards for joining What’s the Story was correct. Your “consciousness of the world” will certainly be put to good use in this course, and given your ambition, will likely be stretched and deepened.

    Looking forward to your next entry and hearing more about some topics that might interest you!

    • Hey Bob

      Firstly, you can thank any knowledge I have on semi-colons to my sophomore English teacher, Mr. Archambault. Ever since I learned how to use them, I’ve had to stop myself from overdoing it in my writing. They just make so much sense! Secondly, thank you so much for welcoming me into WTS. Although I missed the last meeting due to illness, I am excited to go to the overnight on the 29th. So far so good though, I’m truly enjoying delving into my topic and receiving awesome feedback from peers and teachers.

      – Elizabeth Pietras

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