Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Friday

October 4, 2013

Wooten's Elders Project wins

ELK RAPIDS — Winning a State History Award from the Historical Society of Michigan last weekend is important to Antrim County poet Terry Wooten, founder of the Elders Project — an educational oral history and poetry program that has brought more than 200 seniors and 500 students together in 14 Michigan schools for almost a decade.

“For thousands of years, youth got their histories and herstories from elders of our community,” Wooten told the 200-300 people at the History Society of Michigan’ banquet Saturday night at its fall state conference, hosted this year in downtown Kalamazoo.

“One of the tragedies of our society is that we separate our youth from our elders,” he added. “The Elders Project doesn’t change that, but if you can just witness the exchanges between students and elders you see that they sometimes area as important as the poetry that comes of out of it. Elders, I think, also cherish the idea that they’ve been invited back into the school.”

Wooten’s project worked to record oral histories of older generations while familiarizing the younger generations with their stories.

Middle and high school students conduct two taped interviews with the elders about their lives and memories and then transcribe their favorite parts verbatim and put it into a free-verse poem. Wooten then listens to the tapes and edits the students’ poems into poetic verse while retaining the storytellers’ unique voice.

“When you see the exchange, it gives the Elders Project relevance you realize the value of putting these two subcultures together,” Wooten said. “It means a lot to me to be recognized for that. In this age of crazy standardized testing, I want to say a big thank-you to all the teachers who took the time to open their classroom up to me and also to all the students and elders.”

1
Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open NOW TRENDING: Real life Pac-Man Explosions as hot air balloon crashes in Clinton DUI Driver Dragged to Safety by Officer After Walking Onto Busy Freeway Celebrities That We'd Like to Send to the Moon Spectacular lightning storm hits London Malaysian Flight Victim Was South Florida Grad Rory McIlroy on pace to break British Open records Officials Fear MH17 Site Now Tampered by Rebels Lowes employees repair Vietnam vet's wheelchair Widow of Staten Island man who died after NYPD takedown says he was unjustifiably targeted