I kind of can’t believe we’re finally here, but today the students have officially launched their first installments of #TheStoryProject! YAY!

I know, I know – I’ve been MIA for awhile. (Mental note: add “update blog more regularly” to my “What I need to work on” list.) We had Spring Break, and then when we returned there was PARCC testing, and we’ve been reading Wicked, and talking about Serial, and then, all of a sudden, it was LAUNCH DAY! This time of year goes so fast.

Next week I turn the blog over to our storytellers, and they’re more than ready to take on the challenge; I truly cannot wait for you to meet these wonderful young people.

So let’s build a little suspense, shall we? Here’s a preview of who you’ll be hearing from next Wednesday and Friday:

Susie & HyeYoon – on Instagram as @a_sunz_story:

sunzThis is the most lovable pair of best friends ever. Susie & HyeYoon will be telling the story of their friendship and how they found one another, while at the same time challenging stereotypes about Koreans, Korean-Americans, and Asians more broadly.Friendship AND advocacy? It’s a beautiful thing!

Their 4-part series has a really lovely visual theme to it, too – see if you can guess at what it is, starting with this photo!


Mike, Evan & Phillip – on YouTube @ Lizard Wizard Racing Championship

I’m going to be completely forthcoming about this one and say this: I’m not entirely sure what these guys are planning. Here’s what I know: there are lizards (one named Cricket), they will be racing, and their tails may or may not fall off. Another thing I know is that Mike, Evan & Phillip are going to have a fascinating story because they’re fascinating guys. (Note: no lizards were harmed in the making of these videos. Also, they’re being loved and cared for.)

Lauren, Dania & Hayden – on Twitter AND Instagram @PShelterStories

shelter storiesHere’s another one that’s really close to my heart – Lauren, Dania & Hayden are working to bring attention to animals in local shelters in the hopes of increasing pet adoptions. No group so far has worked harder at making contacts for their story. Surprisingly, it’s been pretty tough for them to get access to shelters and rescues to photograph animals to feature – perhaps it’s because they’re kids and no one is taking them seriously enough, or maybe it’s just indicative of the larger animal homeless problem that we have (my bleeding heart is showing through, I think). In either case, I so admire their tenacity; they’ve been on the phone, scouring the Internet, and I think they’re poised for a breakthrough. Maybe by sharing their work here, we’ll find some people willing to help them, and the animals, out.

Well, there they are! They’ve been doing their part to get the ball rolling, and in writing this I’m hoping to do my part in building their online profiles, so please, PLEASE check them out. They’ve impressed me tremendously, and I know they’re going to impress you as well.

Until next time,

Mrs. K



#StudentSpotlight – Round 1

Now that we’re well on our way and the countdown has begun for the student takeover (April 29th – put it in your calendars!), I wanted to start teasing some of the material these amazing students of mine are working on. I figured I’d do that through a series of student spotlights, so that you can be introduced to who they are and what they’re up to. Each spotlight will feature two groups, and I’ve chosen two really spectacular groups to share with you today.

Students of Cresskill – Jason, Jeremy, Sarah & Shakira

blog screencapWhat are they up to? You know what really sold me on this group? When we were tossing ideas around, Shakira said to me, “People always think that high school kids’ problems are small, and they aren’t.” And it occurred to me: she’s right. We can’t tell kids their problems are small without telling them that they’re small. The whole idea of this project was to let them know just how not small they are, and this just seems like a great way of doing it. So the Students of Cresskill team has a simple goal: interview their peers to get candid thoughts and reflections as to what it’s like to be a high school student in 2016.

How are they going to do it? They’ve decided that images are important to the story they’re trying to tell – to put real faces to real problems. So they’ll be using Instagram to publish and publicize their ideas. Follow them on Instagram at @StudentsofCresskill – they’ll be introducing themselves in the coming days, and I know you’re going to love them the way I do.

Perceptions of Beauty – Alvin, Jared, Kristen, Minji

perception blog screencapWhat are they up to? These guys are my social crusaders – out to challenge cultural beliefs and change lives. These four are planning to explore beauty standards, and how they’re defined, and by whom. I was won over by the idea immediately (there are few things I find more endearing than young activists), but it’s their fearlessness that really drew me in. When I asked them how they were going to explore this idea, they pitched a plan for “man on the street” interviews. I wanted to know what kinds of questions they’d ask, and Kristen told me she planned on asking total strangers, “Do you think I’m pretty?” WOAH. Bold. We discussed the possibility of the Internet not always being a nice place, but Kristen is unflappable – she’s in because she thinks it’s an important conversation. She, like the others, is a ridiculously cool kid.

How are they going to do it? This team will be using video as their main platform. Jared is a truly talented video editor, and so his YouTube channel will host their videos. They’re also using Twitter to promote, so please follow them at @StandardsofB so that you’re kept in the loop about all the cool stuff they’re up to. Keep an eye on their hashtag, #PerceptionofBeauty, so that you can be involved in the conversation!

So…What do you think?

I mean, are you as excited as I am?  And this is just the beginning, ladies & gentlemen, because we have a whole bunch of additional teams to meet! Check these guys out on social media – they’ve got amazing stories to tell.

Until next time,

Mrs. K