Today I had the delightful and moving experience of listening to the work of student journalists at Burton HS in the Portola district. Through a partnership with public radio station KALW and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, the journalism class at Burton has created an hour-long radio documentary entitled “Stories During Wartime: An Intergenerational Conversation.” Students interviewed veterans of World War II, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Iraq, as well as conscientious objectors and civilians affected by war.
Senior Ronnisha Johnson interviewed Sean Moynihan, an Iraq war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She told me it took a long time for him to open up, but once he did, stories about the horrors he witnessed came pouring out. Freshman William Tatlonghari interviewed his grandmother about fleeing her home in the Phillippines after her country was invaded by Japan during World War II. Freshman Paul Yang interviewed David Mitchell, a Vietnam veteran who described the anger of the American public towards soldiers returning from Vietnam.
The full documentary will be broadcast on KALW, 91.7 FM, at 7 p.m. on Memorial Day, May 26. Don’t miss it! It’s an astounding achievement by the students, their teacher Ellena Weldon, and Emily Wilson, a KALW producer who assisted with the project. It’s also very thought-provoking and timely.
Excerpts from the project are also available online.