Category: Chattanooga

Jay’s Story

Jay Shin, 20, is from Cleveland, Tennessee. Even with Cerebral Palsy, he lives a normal
life with an amazing support system. He was raised by his mom, Soonja Shin, and two sisters, Yoori Shin and Meeri Shin. He attends Cleveland State Community College where he studies Mechatronics. He also attends Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church in Collegedale where he has a great community around him. Cerebral Palsy affects Jay physically and some mentally, but he doesn’t let his disability define him.

 

Meet the Storytellers

Marielle Echavez

Marielle Echavez is a junior pursuing a degree in Communication and a minor in Psychology. She manages her own branch of custom apparel on campus. She has a passion for videography and being creative. She plans to pursue video production post-graduation. Contact her at wcb788@mocs.utc.edu.

Collecting Stories of Chattanooga

Story Corps preserves human history through the oral storytelling of its participants. With a travel trailer converted into a recording studio, Story Corps road trips to 10 cities around the country to record and broadcast the stories of local residents. This year, Story Corps has partnered with WUTC to showcase the untold histories of Chattanooga. Participants can tell anystory they want, and it can be told alone or with a partner.

Jacqueline Van Meter, Story Corps mobile tour manager, is the only staff member who travelswith the trailer full time. Van Meter facilitates the interview process with participants, and she also supervises the other staff members who come on and off the road to work with participants, she said.

“We’re kind of creating this democratized oral history collection,” Van Meter said. “We’re putting the documentation of the people’s history into the hands of the people themselves talking about it in the way that means the most to them.”

Participants can come up with their own questions to ask their partner or they can utilize the question cards provided by Story Corps. The recording sessions last for 40 uninterrupted minutes. Once the session ends, participants can choose to keep their recordings private or they can allow them to be aired on WUTC. The public recordings are archived at the Library of Congress.

“We think that listening is an act of love,” Van Meter said. “The experience of being asked
questions about your own life can be a really empowering experience especially for people who have walked through life feeling like their stories didn’t matter or they didn’t have a story to tell.”

Will Davis, outreach manager and producer at WUTC, prompted Story Corps to partner with the station knowing the impact it could have on the community. Story Corps was immediately interested in coming to Chattanooga when Davis contacted them, he said.

“I was really prepared to be like okay, these are the hundred reasons why you should come
here, but it never came to that,” Davis said.

Around 100 to 150 interviews will be recorded and shared with the station for broadcast, Davis said.

“That’s a ton of content,” Davis said. “Professionally recorded, professionally facilitated. That’s huge for the station, so it’s great PR, but it’s also a lot of content. That’s the reason I wanted to do it.”

The travel trailer is parked beside Miller Park on E MLK Blvd. The recording process will take place from March 19 to April 17. Those who wish to sign-up can do so through the Story Corps website. There is currently a waitlist, but participants can still secure a spot by signing up for it.

WUTC Brings StoryCorps to Chattanooga

As the outreach manager for WUTC, Will Davis, has worked the past eighteen months
since moving here to bring StoryCorps to Chattanooga. He was surprised to find out that they had never been to his new home and immediately knew he wanted to make it happen.

StoryCorps will do over 150 stories while in town which are available to WUTC to use
for future projects. Many of the stories the people of Chattanooga have told share common themes of the city changing and the celebration of it.

All of the slots to sit down and talk have been filled and there is a waiting list that Davis
encourages others to sign up for, but he says that he hasn’t decided if he will sit down himself. He has put months of work into this project and has numerous ideas of what he will use the stories for in the future. Even if he decides not to sit down in the airstream for a recorded talk his impression on Chattanooga through WUTC and StoryCorps coming together will last forever.

Meet the Storytellers

Elian Richter

Elian Richter works as a photojournalist and action photographer. He has experience covering events such as USA Boxing qualifiers and Presidential arrivals on Air Force One. Elian has had works published on Rising Rock Media and the UTC Echo. In his free time, Elian enjoys rock climbing and being outdoors. Contact Elian Richter at wbn751@mocs.utc.edu.

Justin Metcalf

Justin Metcalf is a junior at UTC who studies communication and psychology. Justin enjoys writing for the university newspaper, and their favorite pastime involves curling up with a warm tea and watching horror movies. They hope to continue their education in psychology and become a counselor for LGBTQ youth.

Max Hanson

Max Hanson is a videographer and video editor pursuing a degree in communication at UTC. He has experience in live broadcast, news media, and has extensive work in short films. His passions are in vintage camera equipment, science, and the more bizarre stories in the world.

McKenzie Scott

McKenzie Scott is a junior at UTC studying communication with a minor in women’s studies. She is a writer for rising rock and has experience with telling stories through photos. She is passionate about volunteering in her community and recently rescued a dog named Hank. Contact her at sjd955@mocs.utc.edu.

 

Skater Dad

Since his freshman year at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Trent Comeaux, a junior Exercise Science major from Red Bank, has been pouring into young boys’ lives at the Chattanooga Skate Park.

The Chattanooga skate community “has got a bad rep,” according to Comeaux. “It’s looked at as this vandalizing, rebellious, careless community of people who just don’t care about anything else but themselves, and it’s really the exact opposite.”

From his involvement with the university as a member of the BYX fraternity to time spent with a community of Young Life leaders, Comeaux’s days are always busy. However, he always takes time out of his day to skate with his “lil homies” or the younger kids that hang at the skatepark.

One fourteen year old boy in particular, Camden Parcell, has become an extremely close friend of Comeaux’s. “When I first met Camden, my only goal was to just love him,” he said.

From the skate competition that started the relationship to a daily outing to the nearby Wendy’s, their friendship grew into a much closer bond.

“I see Trent as almost like a father figure to me. He does so much for me and will probably always be there for me,” shared Camden.

Even though, according to Comeaux, the skate park in Chattanooga portrays a negative idea of what this community is like, the relationships between Comeaux and his “lil homies” shows the complete opposite. Instead, this community allows life giving and meaningful relationships to grow through something as simple as a skateboard.

 

Meet the Storytellers

Cassie Whittaker

Cassie Whittaker is a graduating senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in Communication and a minor in Spanish. She plans on pursuing a social marketing career in the private sector and is experienced in writing and presenting marketing plans. Her interests include volunteering and hiking around the city of Chattanooga which drives her toward a career that helps other people. Contact me for opportunity in these fields at qss692@mocs.utc.edu.

 

Abigail Frazier

Abigail Frazier is a senior majoring in Communication and Sociology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She is passionate about journalism and works as the news editor for The University Echo. Frazier can be contacted at twg146@mocs.utc.edu.

 

Blake Davis

Blake Davis is a Senior Communication Major at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is passionate about creating and telling stories through a video camera. For over 6 years, he has been improving his craft in videography. He also loves playing Spikeball and is a collegiate National Champion. He can be reached at rlp233@mocs.utc.edu.

 

Bailey Frizzell

Bailey Frizzell is a student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and plans to graduate in May 2019 with a degree in Communication and a minor in Spanish. She is passionate about telling stories through photography, and hopes to pursue a career in photojournalism after graduation. She can be contacted at kdv822@mocs.utc.edu.

 

 

The Read House: Preserving Chattanooga History

The Read House Hotel has been a place for not only travelers to stay but for the Chattanooga community to come together since the 1920s. A $25 million-dollar renovation has taken place over the past year and will finally come to an end over the next few months. This remodel is restoring the building to its historic form. Gatsby inspired décor and the feel of the roaring 20s bounds the hotel from the gold leaf ceilings to the antique mirrors hung across the walls.

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Sunrise over the Read House Hotel on Monday, February 18, 2019. (Photo by Elian Richter)

The hotel has endured floods, war, epidemics, the great depression, and an ever-changing city surrounding it.

Hotel Historian Tyler Hogue shares the story of the hotel’s past and his passion to preserve the history of each and every room. It is home to Bridgeman’s Chophouse, a Starbucks, bar & billiards room, and over a dozen meeting rooms for private dining, parties and business meetings.

“The owner was reading some newspapers,” Hogue said, “and one of the newspapers for the hotel was from around the 1920s and 30s. There were pictures of people sitting on the terraces, dressed in hats, dressed to the nines like it was shot straight out of the Great Gatsby. He thought wow, the Great Gatsby, that’s a great theme for this hotel.”

The feel of elegance and class radiates throughout the building as jazz is played over the loudspeakers through the lobby.

The Read House is not only home to people passing through for a night’s rest, but it is open to the community as well. Hogue wants to stay true to the way the original owners Samuel and Thomas Read ran the hotel by welcoming Chattanooga natives to engage with each other and embrace the rich history found in the middle of their very own city. Thomas’s wife Cynthia would even take girls at risk of being in prostitution or orphaned in and find a home for them.

“We wanted to bring that community feel back,” Hogue said, “so people can come in here, come to our library, get a book and sit down with a cocktail or a drink from Starbucks and enjoy the hotel.”

They left a legacy of compassion and hospitality that The Read House stays true to today and shares with every person that enters its doors.

 

Read House Poster Final

Meet the Storytellers

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Justin Metcalf 

Justin Metcalf is a junior at UTC who studies communication and psychology. Justin enjoys writing for the university newspaper, and their favorite pastime involves curling up with a warm tea and watching horror movies. They hope to continue their education in psychology and become a counselor for LGBTQ youth.

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Elian Richter

Elian Richter works as a photojournalist and action photographer. He has experience covering events such as USA Boxing qualifiers and Presidential arrivals on Air Force One. Elian has had works published on Rising Rock Media and the UTC Echo. In his free time, Elian enjoys rock climbing and being outdoors. Contact Elian Richter at wbn751@mocs.utc.edu.

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McKenzie Scott

McKenzie Scott is a junior at UTC studying communication with a minor in women’s studies. She is a writer for rising rock and has experience with telling stories through photos.  She is passionate about volunteering in her community and recently rescued a dog named Hank. Contact her at sjd955@mocs.utc.edu.

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Max Hanson

Max Hanson is a videographer and video editor pursuing a degree in communication at UTC. He has experience in live broadcast, news media, and has extensive work in short films. His passions are in vintage camera equipment, science, and the more bizarre stories in the world.