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Moth StorySlam: Turning Students to Storytellers

by Luna Azcurrain

11th Grade

The Moth is a well known, non-profit organization that hosts events for everyday people to share true stories. This storytelling platform has a radio show on NPR, its own podcast, and is now in cities across the globe. 

Moth stories are known for being short and concise, but packed with detail. My dad and I always used to listen on Wednesday nights to their NPR show and when I learned they were coming to East Side, I couldn’t have been more excited ! 

The Moth comes into different high schools across the city and encourages students to learn about the art and craft of storytelling. Many students think they have no stories to tell, and therefore there is no point in joining this program. That is false. Everybody comes into the program without having a story idea. The first thing that happens are different brainstorming activities. You learn at the Moth that everything can get turned into a story. Not only will you learn that the smallest moment can get turned into a story, but you will also get closer with your peers. 

During Moth sessions there are usually snacks and fun games to play in the beginning. After you have picked a story during the brainstorming process you will develop your story over the course of two or three weeks. The cool thing about the Moth is that you never write the entire story down; it’s not a script you’re really just telling the story as if you’re telling it to a friend with more of a structure that the educators help you with. You will go back and forth with educators and peers about aspects that worked well in your story and ways to improve it. There are going to be some lines that you might like and so you’ll want to reuse them each time you tell the story, but it is very common the way that you tell your story may change each time as long as the main points are still addressed. 

When it came to performance day, November 20th the library was packed and I was very nervous. I even said as soon as I got to the mic “there’s a lot more people here than I expected.”  As soon as you start talking on the mic you instantly begin to get comfortable and it feels like you’re telling your story to friends instead of an unknown audience. The Moth makes sure to create an extremely safe environment in order for you to share. 

I really recommend this experience, it helped me reflect on my life and think about moments that meant a lot to me. Halley Ortero, another junior that was a part of the program as well said, “Honestly I loved the program and I would definitely do it again because I got to tell a story that I've always wanted to tell.”  It helped us both believe that we are truly storytellers. 

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