The Moth Story Slam
For the 2014-2015 academic year The Moth, a non-profit organization dedicated to encourage story telling through their StorySLAM performances and competitions, has collaborated with Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) to form a StorySLAM team consisting of 10 students grades 10-12. The program consists of 5 weekly meetings that began on September 30, ending on November 7th with the StorySLAM show and a reflective workshop on November 14th.
Ms. Apostolidis, vice principal of FSSA and one of the school advisors of the program, said the program kind of came to us.
“It was The Moth that actually approached us. I don’t know if it was Ms. Finn who was at a conference and approached them, or if they approached her. Once Ms. Finn told me about it I called them and then we all agreed that this would be a great thing for the school and the students,” she adds.
Ms. Apostolidis also confirmed that the show will be held in the Black Box Theatre at FSSA after setting up the date with Mr. Andre after the information sessions on September 30.
The StorySLAM team has already been formed and consists of eight students: Seniors Sarah Laury and Jamie Lazan; Juniors Patrick Thompson, Tyrelle Elmore, Tillie Simon, and Domenyka Sarauz; and Sophomores Isabella da Silva and Max Hamilton. Advisors alongside Ms. Apostolidis include, English teacher Ms. Muskaj, and the managers of The Moth’s education program Catherine McCarthy and Miceala Biel.
“It’s something I can bring in my classroom and it helps me decide how I want to run and structure my classes,” says Ms. Muskaj. “Everyone can benefit from it. They can make friends, reinvent themselves and gain social skills.”
McCarthy and Biel held two information sessions during ninth period and after school that covered what the policies and purpose of the team are, which consists of a confidentiality policy between the members and advisors, an explanation as to what purpose The Moth Story SLAM performances serves including an example of a story that was performed by Biel. They explained that storytelling is an art that uses peoples’ own personal experiences as a way of expressing themselves to an audience and that the StorySLAM shows are done so people can not only have a place to share their experiences with people but they can also feel safe from judgement and slander.
The atmosphere of both the information sessions and the first official meeting that followed a week later was a friendly one. All team members, excluding Tyrelle who was absent from school that day, were present at the first workshop. Due to the confidentiality policy of the program specific details cannot be announced, but to summarize what happened there were drama exercises that included the name game in the beginning that was followed by a brainstorming of story ideas, with each member giving a short three minute sample of a possible story idea for the show. The whole vibe of both meetings were relaxed and the members found it easier to talk to the advisors and other students as the meetings progressed.
No one knows what exactly will go down during the StorySLAM show specifically, but as for the program Ms. Apostolidis has high hopes for its outcome.
“I’m excited for this to all be everything that you guys want it to be and then continue in the spring,” she says. “This would be great if they can work with us every year, it really would. I think storytelling is a lost art in our society and it’s such a wonderful thing to share with young people and to give them the opportunity to share something that’s either funny or sad and to find a great way to communicate it verbally in front of people. It builds your self confidence, it builds up your public speaking skills, and you also get to learn things about yourself and other people.”
– by Daysi Sanchez ’15