Piece image

StoryCorps NTI: Sarah Benko and Meliza Arellano

From: StoryCorps
Length: 01:46

Embed_button
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.

More from StoryCorps

Piece image

StoryCorps: Dean Smith (01:51)
From: StoryCorps

Dean Smith, who spent 40 years as a stunt double for Hollywood Westerns, talks with his wife, Debby, and son, Finis.
Piece image

StoryCorps: Sophy Medina and Tommy Olsen (02:01)
From: StoryCorps

New York City Firefighters Sophy Medina and Thomas Olsen remember their first Valentine's Day together.
Piece image

StoryCorps: Barbara Amaya and Bianca Belteton (02:44)
From: StoryCorps

Barbara Amaya tells her daughter, Bianca Belteton, about falling into the hands of sex traffickers as a 12-year-old runaway.
Caption: Jeff Lasater (L) and Drew Cartwright

StoryCorps: Jeff Lasater and Drew Cartright (02:29)
From: StoryCorps

Jeff Lasater tells his friend Drew Cartwright about his son Jeremiah who, after being bullied at school, committed suicide at 14 years old.
Piece image

StoryCorps: Debra and Lionel D'Luna and Adrienne D'Luna Directo (02:37)
From: StoryCorps

Adrienne D'Luna Directo interviews her parents, Debra and Lionel D'Luna, about her sister Alexis who died from complications of CHARGE syndrome in 2012.
Piece image

StoryCorps Griot: Clayton Sherrod (02:13)
From: StoryCorps

Clayton Sherrod looks back to 1964, when at 19 years old he became executive chef at an all--white country club in Birmingham, Alabama.
Caption: Marissa Maier (L) and Kathleen Russo

StoryCorps: Kathleen Russo and Marissa Maier (02:21)
From: StoryCorps

Kathleen Russo and Marissa Maier, widow and stepdaughter of the writer and monologist Spalding Gray, remember the day he disappeared.
Piece image

StoryCorps: Yelitza Castro and Willie Davis (02:24)
From: StoryCorps

Yelitza Castro talks with her friend Willie Davis about serving meals to the homeless community in Charlotte, North Carolina for the past three years.
Piece image

StoryCorps: Maria Vasquez-Rojas and Francisco Vasquez (02:28)
From: StoryCorps

Maria Vasquez-Rojas talks with her brother, Francisco Vasquez, about being diagnosed with ovarian cancer shortly after finding out she was pregnant.
Piece image

StoryCorps: Dennis and Barbara Hale (02:37)
From: StoryCorps

Dennis Hale tells his wife, Barbara, about being the sole survivor of the Daniel J. Morrell shipwreck on Lake Huron in 1966.

Piece Description

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

Transcript

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

INTRO:

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.

OUTRO:

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

Related Website

www.storycorps.org/listen