Merced Youth Reconnect Through Oral History Project

May. 17, 2013 / By

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Photo: Tyler Sano

by Deborah Juarez

On February 28, 2013 Merced High School showcased an Oral History Project; students interviewing family or friends, capturing their history. The exhibit, held at the Merced County Courthouse Museum, displayed photographs, from the past and present, about the student’s interviewee. The exhibit also contained a biography sketch of the interviewee’s life story below their name. The exhibit had over 100 photographs and more than 30 bio sketches.

There were four people that played a huge role in creating and putting together this exhibit. Mr. Sebastian is a History and AP US History teacher at MHS. Mr. Sandoval, who teaches sophomore World History, collaborated with Sebastion the first ever Oral History Project in MHS’s history. Out of his three AP classes and two regular classes, Mr. Sebastian chose his 2nd period AP class and his 6th period regular history class to participate in the project because those two period best fit the two teachers’ planning schedule. The two teachers are the ones that made today’s ordinary students into historians. However they did receive some help from the school librarian Ms. Morgan. Morgan was in charge of receiving all of the photographs that were sent to her, taking the students portraits, being the “communication line” for the courthouse and sending the staff and students their invitation to the event. Finally, Sarah Lim, who works at the Courthouse Museum, was responsible for bringing it all together. Lim was the person who designed and organized the event and opening, printed up and enlarged all the photographs. Basically, Lim “was raising our baby with our stuff” said Morgan.

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WeCed Youth Media

Merced and its surrounding areas have always had a vibrant population of young people. Unfortunately, too often there is a disconnect between generations that can lead to misunderstandings and a lack of communication. WeCed's aim through its program and publication is to highlight and empower youth to tell their stories and that of their communities, while providing them with the guidance and skill-building necessary to foster the development of their strongest possible voice.