A Hobby for Storytelling: Bethanie Gourley’s Story

A Hobby for Storytelling: Bethanie Gourley’s Story

This post was republished from Medium, where Noble Impact 201 scholar Bethanie Gourley blogs about her life, thoughts, and inspirations. Follow Bethanie on Twitter and check out her digital portfolio.

Five years of my life were spent as an only child. Imagination played a major role in sustaining my happiness as a child. I spent every moment either turning mud into soup or creating a storyline with my Polly Pockets. The majority of my first memories consisted of a VHS video camera pointed towards my chunky toddler face. However, this is not where I found my passion for film.

Around the age of 10, my little sister Erica received a barbie doll for her birthday. This wasn’t an everyday barbie doll; it had a built-in video camera. My experience with film began by chasing my sister around our house with a camera/child’s toy. This became more of a gift for me, instead of my sister. This became more of a gift for me, instead of my sister. My expertise at the time was compiling scenes of dialogue between different stuffed animals. Thus, I recorded with a video camera, inside of a barbie.


“My Story,” a short film about my life and passion for film.

However, it wasn’t until I received my first iPhone 4 in the 7th grade when I became intrigued by video. My friends and I would film music videos and funny sketches on my iPhone that I edited on any free editing app I could find. We would post these pointless short videos to Youtube and get excited when they reached a total of 5 views.

“You have never made it, with each success must come a never and more invictus goal.” — Casey Neistat

Recently, my spirit for video has been redefined. Producing short movies, allows me to express my feelings, stories, and experiences. I view it as a time capsule I am able to rewatch every day.

I have discovered a new form of filming that I am confident in, storytelling. Logistics and equipment do not fuel my passion for film. I am inspired by the format available to share stories and experiences. I love capturing the environment that surrounds me and my experiences through film. I don’t think most people realize how much video and film surrounds and affects our decisions every day.
I want to be a part of that influence.

Stories: The Power Of Sharing And Listening

Stories: The Power Of Sharing And Listening

Stories are everywhere, and everyone has one. When was the last time that you read someone a story, told a story, or shared your story? All the time, right? Stories make life fun. They make life interesting.

Before Fall Break, I had the opportunity to listen to some of our 5th graders in Noble Impact tell their stories to their classmates. They shared their values, their passions, and a story – something important to them – and they are even blogging about it! After seeing their blogs, I had no excuse not to get mine up and running. Thanks for that motivation, 5th graders!

Jessi Forster Reads a Story
Jessi Forster reads a story at eStem Public Charter School.
This is something I love about education today, especially here at eStem. We are equipping these 10 year olds with something that is intangible – it goes beyond a lesson, test, or paper. It’s the ability to have a story and share it with others.

But that’s not the only value in sharing stories – what about those students and teachers listening? They are making personal connections with these students’ stories, they are getting to know each other. Today, it just may be more important to be a listener. Can you think of the people you know who are good listeners…the ones who truly hear what you are saying? I know you can probably think of several names of those who don’t! When I know someone hears me, I know they care about me and what I have to say. This is what I want our children to learn, not only how to tell their story, but also how to listen to others.

​I wish I had learned that when I was 10.

This post originally appeared on Jessi Forster’s blog, Mrs. Jess Forster, where she writes about her work as an educator and K-8 director.