Explaining WTS To School

What’s The Story is a social action team for teenagers, funding through Middlebury College, and Bread Loaf School of English. What’s The Story is a year long program, that includes four weekend overnights, a kickoff day at Middlebury College, a hike, and three meet-ups at Champlain Valley Union High School. On our first overnight we all had a topic in mind that we wanted to purse. We then got into groups with people who had similar topics and decided on one topic that we all had interest in or connected to all of ours in a way. The topic I found most interesting was, the foster care system in Vermont. I’m in a group with two other people who are both in high school. Our team then came op with plans we would do over the next four weeks (until we had our next overnight). The plans including, research in different areas within our topic, writing pre-interview questions, and doing pre interviews.  We decided that since we don’t see each other face-to-face very often, it would be a good idea to do a weekly video chats to check in. The first overnight taught me how to work as a team, compromise, give feedback, and overall learn how to work with other people with different ideas.

At our second overnight we came up with more descriptive plans, and narrowed in on a specific area in the foster care system in Vermont. We decided to focus more on how there are many kids in the system and not enough foster parents. We then, shared our topic with other groups and receive feedback. We also learned how to perform interviews, and work with filming equipment. A professor from Middlebury College came to speak to us about using filming equipment and making sure your interview looks and sounds good on video. That speech was very helpful, because interviews are a big part of our final product (documentary). Towards the end of the overnight we talked about what we are planning on doing over the next month (until we had our next meeting). We are going to make more calls to people who we think would be good characters in our documentary, we are also going to conduct a few pre-interviews ourselves. This overnight taught me how to film good quality interviews, ask questions that will keep the interviewee engaged, and how to find people who have an emotional connection to the topic.

In the future we are going to film interviews, and put them in our documentary. Our final product is going to have main characters that are hopefully going to really stand out to the audience. We are also going to learn new strategies about making our final product and showing it to the public. Our group has come up with a few framing questions, sources (primary and secondary), and interviewees to help produce our final product. Our group so far has been gathering information from various sources, including websites, people and interviews. I’m looking forward to continue with our interviews and research, and looking forward to our final product.


Ella Beerworth

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