In their own voices: Students share their stories in Student Voices Project

April 29, 2021

Making your own luck. Being bullied in high school. Surviving the Liberian civil war. Losing a grandmother. Finding yourself. Being independent. And becoming who you were meant to be. 

It’s said that everyone has a story to tell, and eight students share their own amazing and powerful stories about these topics and more in Minnesota State Community and Technical College’s virtual “Student Voices Project.” 

“Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdowns of performance spaces, and amid civil unrest in the United States, the M State Theatre Department wanted to create an opportunity for students to participate in a digital theatre arts production,” said theatre and communication instructor Sheri Johnson, who co-directed the project with theatre instructor Stefanie Gerhardson. 

The project is an all-campus M State production, with personal stories written and performed virtually by students.  

The hour-long Student Voices Project can now be viewed online. 

"We expected to hear powerful stories from our students, but we were humbled and impressed by the students' candor, insight, humor and sincerity in their willingness to share their stories," Johnson said. "It has been a wonderful process to work with these students and be able to digitally share their stories."

Participating students are:

  • Fredrigue Gustin – how he made his own luck 
  • Gretta Nordgren – the experience of attending a public high school after being homeschooled 
  • Pliccaid Rennie – a reflection on his childhood during the civil conflict in Liberia 
  • Austin Hess-Jensen – why he detests Valentine’s Day 
  • Rachel Wiebe – an open letter to a past love and to herself 
  • Sienna Baratono – a young adult struggling to find her purpose 
  • Awa Camara – exploring the burden and joy of independence  
  • Reno Hanson – a young adult sharing his alternative educational journey   

Said one participating student of the experience, "The process of this production taught me that revealing your weaknesses can be the strongest thing you ever do."