The Six-Word Memoir Blog

Dear SMITH: “Will always believe in my students”

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

By Larry Smith

We’ve recently added a “backstory” feature to the Six-Word Memoir project (like a backstory that just came in about turning 50. At Falmouth High School in Falmouth, MA, Christopher Lippa’s students have had the backstory bug for months. “I had about 70 kids write six-word memoirs for this assignment,” the English teacher wrote in to SMITH. “What I did not expect was for each of the students to write such in depth one-page responses on how they came up with the memoirs.”

Lippa first heard about the Six-Word Memoir project on his local NPR station. “It sounded like a great way for young people to express themselves while creatively choosing the most effective diction to get his/her point across,” he says. “I broke the memoirs into categories and asked students to try and provoke their readers to laugh, cry, or feel some degree of extraordinary emotion by the words they choose. To my surprise, I found personal conflict and struggles within my students I may have never known otherwise. I plan on continuing to include the assignment in my curriculum for years to come.”

Lippa’s own six-word memoir is very meta and very sweet: “Will always believe in my students.”

Here’s what they came up with.

“One egg. Two girls. Best friends.”
- Bethany Donovan

“Forgot to check, we all jumped.”
- Lou Licciardi

“Travel the world, make a difference.”
- Sam Bombaugh

“Without music, my life is mute.”
- Jake Clark

“Everything changes when friends leave town.”
- Jessica Lowe

“Dead dad. Sick mom. Strong family.”
- Kayla Velez

“Alarm clock: The enemy of teenagers.”
- Tom Carignan

“Innocent baby girl; doesn’t deserve this.”
- Vinn Muma

“Walked on thin ice, fell again.”
- Geo Botelho

“If nothings broken. Why fix it?”
- Patrick Kerr

“Have one dad. Lost the other.”
- Matt Campbell

“Cancer can changed my family forever.”
- Katie Hynes

“I draw life, until I die.”
- Stephanie Pina

“Has been a long move. Long.”
- Cody Smith

“Turned around. Golf cart. Ruined Summer.”
- Connor Meagan

“Wedding rehearsal. Bike Crash. Funeral Commences.”
- Keith Lassman

“Peace is temporary. War is forever.”
- AJ DePrizio

“Premature, NEC. Now seventeen and healthy.”
- Colin Russel

“It was always us before him.”
- Gabbi Gotzman

“You backstabbed me. I’ll be back.”
- Leticia Gomes

“Grades. Friends. Life left in the gutter.”
- Dan Fraser-Kulis

“Too much? Too hard? Don’t quit!”
- Rachel Hurst

“I don’t care, I’m a fighter.”
-Meg Simonelli

“Revenge in hands, past still stands.”
- Brendan Howe

“With dance, I leap for dreams.”
- Chelsea Correia

“Ocean grows, each time I drive.”
- Jacob Sawyer

“Two days past. Never the same.”
- Roy Rusk

“Skate for myself, no one else.”
- Kelsey Stouffer

“Don’t waste the chance you have.”
- Zac Nahigian

“Done! Now I can do anything.”
- Ove Asendorf

“I already have, everything I want.”
- Rama Almaleh

“Told to stop, yearn to go.”
- Steve Laliberte

“Try. Try. Try. . .but get nowhere.”
- Roman Long

“Scared. Only mom. Was it me?”
- Connor Aucoin

“Get stronger. Run faster. Hit harder.”
- Myles Shepherd

“Dad’s not here. Wish he was.”
- Cassie Corey

“Moving van. Many tears. Big smiles.”
- Renee Harris

“Cancer came. What now? Accept. Fight!”
- Jamey McSweeney

“Cancer tenant. Three years. Finally evicted.”
- Elliot Haddad

“Life is good. Cheer it on!”
-Jenny Martin, an FHS cheerleader

“Black parents gave birth. White child.”
- Amber Morse

“She never ever listens to me.”
- Jessica Fox

“Cinderella party ended. She’s gone forever.”
- Meghan Kelley

“Crawl. Walk. Tricycle. Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle.”
- Cody Leaf

“They jumped out? I’d stop, but . . .”
- Jill Peterson

“Should have stayed in bed today.”
- Anna Hassett

“Turkey day victory, with extra gravy!”
- Jordan Ervin

“Mixed race. What am I now?”
- Aaron Baker

“New dad. Old dad loves alcohol.”
- Melinda Peterson

“Happiness comes and goes. For eternity.”
- Kyle McNeill

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2 responses

  1. “Mother, teacher, wife. Do it all.” says:

    WOW, very powerful! Thank you all for sharing. It has inspired me to think of my own “six-work memoir”

  2. Aaron Baker says:

    My gayness is invigorated by yalls memoirs. U truly inspire me.

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