Great American Epic is a classroom and after-school podcasting experience that creates student agency in the American Dream by helping students identify and celebrate the core American values. All to answer the question: What makes America great?
In creating student podcasts, we are not asking students what will make America great again. No. America has always been great. It is the focus of Great American Epic to remember for ourselves and remind others that we live in a great country on this Earth. We ask each student to identify their most important American value and why; values such as diversity, technological advance, and opportunity.
“The students become the storytellers of their own hero’s journey, where they discover everyday Americans, recount their journeys, retell their stories, and celebrate their crowning achievements: All to answer the question, What truly makes America great?”
Our host for the first classroom series is Erin Umpstead, Bruce’s younger sister. Erin is an exemplary English Teacher at Holt High School in Holt, Michigan. She is also the lead facilitator for Eastern Michigan University Writing Project. She is teaching Great American Epic in her Writing Expressions class where all the students are graduating seniors. Erin is drawn to the podcasting experience because she believes in the power of stories to educate, inspire, and ultimately change one’s corner of the world. Podcasts provide a window into the inner lives of everyday Americans. They bring us together and help us to unite under a common experience and understanding. Creating the space and time for this important inquiry for her students will change their lives and provide them the foundation on which to build their own American Dream.