Week 1: Why We Tell Stories

Hey! We're Michaela and Kelsey, the founders of Making Waves. Welcome to our blog. 

It's Friday at 4:45 and we're not sure if they're going to show up. We set our meeting times for Friday evenings, and we're sitting here realizing that when we were 17, there is no way you could have gotten us to go off campus for a meeting on Friday evenings. But then, all at once, they show up. 

The inaugural semester of Making Waves is made up of five students. They're all women, they're all gifted students, and they're all seniors at Rock Bridge High School.  Not surprisingly, our goal in the future is to diversify our class. But for our first semester, this group is perfect. We're both big supporters of gifted education, and we're super stoaked that the group is made up entirely of women. Just like every other field ever, radio is male dominated, and we're thrilled to introduce these rockstar women to radio. 

We connected with these five students through Rock Bridge High School's gifted program. Kathryn Fishman-Weaver, the coordinator of the gifted program, has come on as our Rock Bridge Faculty partner. These students had participated in a This I Believe program, and they wanted more radio. The connection between Making Waves, KBIA and Rock Bridge has been serendipitous and flawless so far. 

For introductions, we asked each student to share a story that was important in her family. Then we talked about why we shared the stories we chose to share, which transitioned into talking about why storytelling is important. The answers the students gave blew us away. We couldn't have scripted a better discussion. Stories promote empathy. Stories allow us to see an issue in a new light. Stories help us experience the world more fully. Like Glynn Washington says in his Transom This is Radio piece, "Stories are vicarious life living. And the more lives I can live vicariously, the better the one that I have is gonna be lived." 

We ended our first session with a discussion about identity. We asked: What identities are most important to you? How do those identities shape how you see the world? How do your identities shape the way the world sees you? And how do your identities impact the stories you choose to tell? Making Waves is not just a journalism workshop. Making Waves is a safe but challenging place for students to explore the social issues that are important to them, and to understand how they can make a difference through objective storytelling. We're encouraging vulnerability, openness, and difficult dialogues about things like race, class, gender, religion, sexuality, mental health and feminism. So far, the students have been incredible. It seems like we've built a lot of trust in just one meeting. 

It's True/False weekend here in Columbia, so once the meeting is over we bolt off. Michaela is working on an audio postcard for KBIA, and Kelsey has a volunteer shift. Until next week!

- Kelsey and Michaela