What's the Story?
What’s the Story? defines itself as “A free program for secondary-school learners to become informed, empathic, and strategic change agents, by the Bread Loaf Teacher Network.” Participants in WtS work with a team of students and educators to create documentaries that raise social issues and work to create change in their communities.
Rex first joined WtS in eighth grade, helping make a documentary about the history of mental health issues in Vermont. At first it was a bit intimidating being an eighth grader on a team made up of older high school students but his voice was an equal at the table and he appreciated the challenge of working with older students. This year Rex’s documentary is looking at gender equality. He’s taking on a much more active role now, editing and narrating the film as well as developing and interviewing. This project feels significant because gender equality is such an important issue in our society, not just to the students and teachers who are part of the documentary. He’s excited that this film has the potential to help create social change.
Be Excited For: WtS is a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in social justice and social change. It is also a great opportunity for someone interested in filmmaking as you get into the nuts and bolts of making a documentary. Rex pointed out that most young people feel pretty tech savvy, but filmmaking and going into the community to interview people forces you into an entirely different tech experience that’s very rewarding. It’s also very exciting to be studying an issue that interests you rather than one someone else put onto a syllabus for you to study.
Be Prepared For: What’s the Story does take a lot of time and commitment. You spend multiple weekends away, and participants live all over the state. Because of this you can’t always meet outside of scheduled times so can be challenging to keep in touch and in contact. The idea of working with all new students from around the state can sound intimidating but they schedule lots of community building time, from group bonfires to board games, so you don’t have to worry about getting to know people.
From Rex's Recent Blog Post
If someone were interested to join WtS I think, even if they are unsure, they should at least give it a try. You lose nothing from trying something new and more likely than not, you’ll earn more participating in WtS. Being able to work with Tim and Bill allows you to have more freedom, but it comes with responsibility. The creation of a documentary is definitely not an easy task, yet with mentors and your peers alongside you, the experience of new friends and producing something you are proud of is one I’m glad I didn’t pass up.