Sonja McKay

“I am being interviewed because I teach seventh grade at Exploris Middle School and my students have been involved with the Oakwood Oral History project for about a year now. We have 16 students who participate each semester in this service learning project. Each student is part of a team of four and they are assigned one person in the neighborhood to write questions for, interview and listen to their stories and then choose their highlights of three to four minutes and edit them into one piece.”

“(At the end), the students came to one of the Society for the Preservation of Oakwood board meetings and they invited all the interviewees there. The students got to say a little bit about their experience and share the (edited) stories and the interviewees were there… They just felt like they were so important and played such an important role in this project. (The event) really showcased to them the significance of what they were doing.”

“There is just so much to gain with honoring others of any age with the gift of listening. And that has been a really profound and important lesson they’ve learned from this experience, and also to learn from people who are not like you and did not grow up like you. Other skills they’ve learned are being brave enough to speak to a stranger, to really listen, and then to follow up with what you’re hearing in a meaningful way. Lots of times, in the busy-ness of life, we can interact with people and hear a story and not be thinking enough about what we’re experiencing to follow up. Training students to truly listen and be curious about what they’re hearing and follow up with additional questions… It was those follow up questions that brought out the richest stories. And using technology… the whole process was meaningful and rich and I know the experience will follow them, wherever they go and whoever they meet in the future.” – Sonja McKay

Sonja McKay lives at 518 North Bloodworth Street with her husband Frank and her daughter Annika.

To hear her interview, press “play” below.

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Friday, December 2nd, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized

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