California Educator

February/March 2023

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Page 27 of 59

H E N T H E P A N D E M I C first started and classes abruptly shifted to distance learning, Fresno High School educator Marina Santos found it hard to read her students' emotions through a computer screen. It led her to create an art project that lifts their words and experiences. "We were reading all these stories about transformation, so I decided to shine a light on the students and asked them to share their stories about the pandemic," says Santos, an International Baccalaureate English teacher and member of Fresno Teachers Association (FTA). "I wanted them to tell their truth." Santos reached out to her colleagues for support and found a thinking partner in artist-in-residency Marc Patterson, who suggested the image of a butterfly to accompany the students' words — representing change and growth. is was the birth of Carrying Stories in Fall 2020, a collage project elevating student experiences through art and storytelling. "Carrying Stories is about the oral traditions of storytelling that we pass down from generation to generation. All of us can express ourselves to shed light on our identity and the lives that we live," Santos says, noting that it was the perfect avenue during W Students next to Carrying Stories art on exhibit. Carrying Stories project elevates words and experiences to shine light on students' lives By Julian Peeples Metamorphosis 26 Feature

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