Sometimes I get as nervous interviewing new people as they do being interviewed. Sometimes I am at a loss for words despite the questions I’ve prepared, or find myself awkwardly changing the subject because that’s just how I converse. I’m an introvert. It’s a thing.
But when I had the chance to interview Lewis Cha, a junior at Lindsay Unified High School in Lindsay, California, and learned that his mother had suffered a stroke when he was seven years old that precipitated their move to Lindsay, I wanted to stop talking for a different reason.
I often get canned responses to questions about how families feel about their children’s accomplishments, and that’s a good thing: it means parents and caretakers are invested and excited by the progress learners are making in the schools we work with. Cha’s parents are proud, too, but because of the stroke, his mother can’t verbalize how she feels about the incredible work he is doing in school and the community. I immediately began wondering how I could find a way to honor his experiences, to tell his story and his family’s story, in a way that felt genuine?
Watch a video interview with Cha and other students from Lindsay Unified High School:
What Cha loves about his mother is “her determination to keep fighting,” and within a few minutes of speaking with him, it was clear to me that he’d inherited that determination.