The Recorder – Four Rivers students share their pandemic experience in audio gallery

GREENFIELD – Every QR code on the wooden stakes spread out on the lawn at Four Rivers Charter Public School on Thursday told the story of a high school student.

Pandemic stories of loss, depression and isolation were common in the “Thoughts on the Pandemic” exhibit, but the lessons of growth, community and empathy among the Four Rivers class of 2022 were even more prevalent.

History teacher Alex Wilson wanted to create an oral history of the COVID-19 pandemic when students returned to in-person learning four weeks ago, but he soon learned that the project would serve better as a room for reflection for his students and himself.

“It started out as a story project documenting the world,” Wilson said. “As we went back to school, a lot of the processing was internal… a calculation with the changes that have happened and the changes that continue to happen. ”

Over the course of three weeks and three reflections, students were asked to answer the questions “Where have I been, where are we now and where am I going?” After writing the reflections, the students recorded their responses in a podcast format for Thursday’s audio gallery.

This was the first time students had worked with audio software, but Wilson said students quickly adjusted to the challenge of listening to their own voices.

Guests were asked to use their phones to scan the QR code on each post, which would lead them to a Google Drive link where each podcast episode was stored.

The aim of the project was to “center the students’ voices in the narrative” while giving the students a place to reflect and process the events of the past year.

“Culturally, we’re supposed to move on,” Wilson said. “I thought it was a way to approach what we went through.”

Wilson said he wanted to emphasize the importance of student work, and this project could serve as an outlet for the school as a whole.

“I hope they are feeling well. I want to communicate that their work matters; it’s important that they put it out there, ”Wilson said. “It sets the tone for the school … and I hope it creates a community where they can be themselves.”

Vivian Goleman focused her podcast on the mental health issues she and other teens went through after a normal year of high school was taken away from them.

“The pandemic has brought me irreversible change,” she said in her podcast.

Goleman said it was a vulnerable year for her and it was important to show those raw emotions to the world, despite the difficulty in sharing her personal struggles with society.

“I took journal entries for clear snapshots. … I felt it was important to paint a picture of the history of adolescent mental health, ”Goleman said. “It’s hard to do and not everyone wants to.”

His junior colleague Ashley Schlinger said the project had been a great way to deal with the past year.

“It has been very difficult, but rewarding to reflect,” said Schlinger. “I missed a lot… but I love hearing the highlight of the year.”

Student Nick Forbes said the project helped provide an “open perspective” on his experiences.

“This year has been everywhere,” Forbes said. “When we first started I was like, ‘Ugh, we have to keep thinking about it’, but it was better than I thought.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at [email protected] or 413-930-4081.

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