Remembering Benzie Oral History Project: Students Interviewing Veterans
A small group of students from Benzie Central are making Benzie County proud. Student interns at the Benzonia Public Library are interviewing veterans as part of their “Remember Benzie: An Oral History Project”. Students like Melia Lorenz don’t feel they have to do this project but get to do this project. “I love the idea of getting to celebrate where I come from,” explains Lorenz.
They are not only celebrating those in the community who served our country but are recording and preserving their memories. Amanda McLaren, the Director of the Benzonia Public Library says, “It makes Benzie county, the smallest county in all of Michigan seem so much bigger.”
One of the veterans interviewed was Jo Bahry, a nurse serving in the Navy. Sharing her story with students was pretty special. Bahry says, “It made me feel good. That they think there’s some worth to what I did.”
These student journalists are learning quickly that everyone’s story deserves to be heard. “I think it’s important that somebody does and I wouldn’t mind being the person who does it,” shares Lorenz.
It’s clear these students are walking away with the power of giving someone a platform and a voice. Amanda McLaren says, “After the veterans have left to hear them (the students) talk and hear how excited they are-and say ‘did you hear when he said this?’ and ‘could you believe this?’ It’s so neat to see that it’s bigger than just an interview. They are really connecting and excited.”
This is just the start of their bigger project “Remembering Benzie: An Oral History Project”. They will have different topics throughout the year with a culminating film in the spring showcasing the work they’ve done in a short film. This project was made possible through a grant and they will be sending each interview to the Library of Congress.
In addition, the equipment that was received through the grant (cameras, laptops, microphones, editing software, etc.) will be available to library patrons this coming spring.
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