10th Graders Use PEF Grant to Film Oral Histories, Are Featured at Conference

  • The work of fifteen Blair sophomores on oral history projects has caught the interest of the regional oral history association, and found underwriting through the Pasadena Educational Foundation (PEF). The recent annual conference of the Southwest Oral History Association (SOHA) included an afternoon seminar on April 2 that featured these Blair students' work.

    Under the direction of Blair World History Instructor Dr. Kenneth Edison, students are filming interesting local persons 60 years old or older to hear and record their stories.  Dr. Edison was awarded a $2000 PEF grant to fund costs and equipment for these endeavors. He also moderated the SOHA seminar at the conference, which took place in L.A. and was attended by the young Blair oral historians, their parents and their project advisors at Blair, Mr. Saul Rico and Ms. Nancy Swartz.

    The subjects of their interviews include Blair JROTC's own Lieutenant Colonel Edward Tyrrell, relatives who immigrated to the U.S earlier in their lives, a Korean War Veteran and former Rose City principal, Oscar Palmer.

    The oral history projects were chosen by the students as their 10th Grade Personal Projects, a required project for all sophomores as a culmination of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (6th-10th grade). Students are free to choose to work on a topic of their own choosing, but must put in at least one to three hours a week for about six months. The project also requires a 2000-2500 word reflective paper and an oral presentation.

    In past years some Blair student Personal Projects have included translating books, researching personally significant topics (such as adoption, gangs, autism, etc.), learning new skills or teaching others. Last year for a Personal Project, a student taught Ms. Swartz to play the ukelele! The Personal Project is a wonderful opportunity for students to delve into something they have always wanted to do, but never had a good enough reason to do it, or to take something they already do well to another level.

    We're so proud to have these Blair students receive recognition for their hard work. Thank you to Dr. Edison, for his vision for this endeavor, to Ms. Swartz for coordinating our International Baccalaureate program, and to the faculty advisors on all 10th grade projects. Thank you also to PEF for their financial support. Once again, PEF has made it possible to take students' learning one step further.