In the spring of 2018, high school students at Seattle World School worked with Jack Straw’s professional writer, Merna Hecht, to write original poetry and essays sharing their hopes and dreams about coming to America, as well as what life in the U.S. is really like. Students then worked with Jack Straw’s vocal coaches and audio engineers to perform, and record their pieces.
In addition to recording the pieces and sharing them online, Jack Straw created a chapbook of the students’ writing for them to keep.
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 Lisa Waagd; 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.