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StoryCorps NTI: Sarah Benko and Meliza Arellano

From: StoryCorps
Length: 01:46

Meliza Arellano tells Sarah Benko, her former seventh-grade teacher, about how she became a serious student. Read the full description.

Benko_small Meliza Arellano tells Sarah Benko, her former seventh-grade teacher, about how she became a serious student.

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Piece Description

Meliza Arellano tells Sarah Benko, her former seventh-grade teacher, about how she became a serious student.


Meliza Arellano (MA):  You started taking me outside. And you would tutor me. And, that kinda made me mad. [Laughs] Cause like, I kinda didn't like you at first.  

Sarah Benko (SB): Oh I remember. 

MA: And you told me that I was like, really below my grade level. 

SB: You were. 

MA: In my old school, I never went to class. I didn't want to be there.  Like basically, none of the teachers ever said anything to me.  Like, you need to stay after school in order for you to do better in this.  So I guess I kinda rejected you cause nobody ever helped me before.  It felt really weird. But there was a point where I finally got a good grade and I realized that you were actually doing me good. 

SB: And now you're in the honors class. 

MA: Yes I am. And you were actually the one that made me realize that I liked reading. I used to just look at the back blurb and like, basically write almost ev...
Read the full transcript

Intro and Outro


Now for another conversation from StoryCorps' National Teachers Initiative...

This year, we'll be sharing stories from and about teachers.

Today, we'll hear from Meliza Arellano, an 11th grader at a New York City charter school called Democracy Prep. When Meliza started there four years ago... she was below grade level in both math and reading.

She was put in a class that helps students like her get up to speed... Her teacher was Sarah Benko.

The pair recently sat down for StoryCorps... to look back on Meliza's 7th grade year -- the year she became a serious student.


That's Sarah Benko with Meliza Arellano for StoryCorps in New York. Their interview -- along with ALL National Teachers Initiative interviews -- will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Get the StoryCorps podcast at NPR Dot Org.

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
Jubilee Unwed Sailor The Marionette and the Music Box. Burnt Toast Vinyl 2003 :22

Additional Credits

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, American Graduate

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