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Hear It from Me: American Dreams and Realities
Voices from the World School

Hear It from Me: American Dreams and Realities was produced by Seattle World School students and Jack Straw Cultural Center. The Seattle World School is Seattle's public school for refugees and new immigrants to the United States. In this project, high school students worked with Jack Straw's professional writer, vocal coaches, and audio engineers to write, perform, and record their own poetry. Since 2010, Jack Straw has worked with Seattle World students to help them share their stories and build respect for each other's cultural traditions and experiences, while improving their English and learning more about the new cultures around them.

Seattle World School student with Jack Straw teaching artist Rob Witmer

Jack Straw Writer Merna Hecht and a Seattle World School Student



Jack Straw voice coach and students at the Seattle World School World School student reading his piece in class Jack Straw voice coach Alyssa Keene with students at the Seattle World School

Voice Coach Kerry Skalsky helps a World School student record her poem in the studio at Jack Straw Voice Coach Rob witmer and engineer Daniel Guenther help a World School student record her poem in the studio at Jack Straw A World School student checks his distance from the microphone in the studio at Jack Straw

Hear It from Me: American Dreams and Realities was produced by Seattle World School students and Jack Straw Cultural Center with the generous support of the Washington State Arts Commission, Vietnamese Friendship Association and King County Best Starts for Kids, Seattle World School, and individual contributors.

The Jack Straw artist team included writer Merna Hecht; vocal coaches Alyssa Keene, Kerry Skalsky, and Rob Witmer; audio engineers Daniel Guenther and Joel Maddox; production intern Kipris Mazeika; videographer Salome MC; designer Levi Fuller; and Executive Director Joan Rabinowitz. Special thanks to Seattle World School students, teacher Cynthia Nkeze, Administrative Secretary Hanh Dang, Librarian James Scarlett-Lyon, and Principal Oksana Britsova, who all helped make this book and audio recording project possible.

Jack Straw Cultural Center is the Northwest's non-profit audio arts center, dedicated to keeping art, culture, and heritage vital through sound. To learn more about this and other Jack Straw programs, you can email us at education@jackstraw.org.



Other World School projects:

  • Immigration Portraits (2019)
    World School students created a series of audio stories based on interviews the students conducted with each other about leaving their home countries to come to America.
  • Seattle World School 2016-17 Projects
    During our 2016-17 arts & technology program, World School students from many different countries created audio pieces about the Bill of Rights and sounds of their homes, and studied guitar with Jack Straw artist Bill Horist.
  • Immigration Portraits (2015)
    World School students created a series of audio stories based on interviews the students conducted with each other about leaving their home countries to come to America.
  • Seattle World School 2014 Projects
    During our 2014 arts & technology program, World School students from many different countries participated in several projects to help strengthen their new English language and technical skills.
  • A World of Memories and Poetry Moments (2013)
    In two projects, World School students wrote and recorded original poetry and stories and produced CDs and a chapbook.
  • Health Talk (2012)
    Students from Seattle World School wrote, performed, created sound effects, and recorded dialogues about different health issues in the Jack Straw studios.
  • Poetry Moments (2012)
    Vietnamese high school students from Seattle World School worked with Jack Straw's professional writers, vocal coaches, and audio engineers to write, perform, and record their own poetry.
  • Food Talk (2011)
    Students from the SBOC (now Seattle World School) worked with a nutritionist from Seattle Children's Hospital and Jack Straw staff members to create public service announcements about healthy eating habits.


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