Cocoon Workshop Encourages High School Students to Share Stories

By Javin Dana

CatlinSpeak (Portland, Oregon)

PDX Cocoon, a storytelling program based on NPR’s Moth podcasts which was started this year by Renee Jenkinson and a group of Catlin Gabel students, held their first workshop over the weekend with 19 high school-aged students (about 14-18 years of age). During the workshop, the upcoming program event, which will feature about eight storytellers in Lola’s Room (Basement of the Crystal Ballroom), was discussed, and students looked at the process of creating a story.

The group of 19 brainstormed story ideas, looked at different ways to formulate stories, and worked on individual, specific stories. “They have been crafting their stories, and then they are going to be pitching the stories that they are interested in telling in front of an audience. We will have about 8 finalists who will be sharing their stories on March 12 at Lola’s Room,” stated Jenkinson.

“We had kids from Grant, kids from Lincoln, kids from Catlin, and we had kids who don’t go to high school, but are high school age,” she continued, describing the diverse group of students who were present at the event.

When asked about the future of the program, and her wishes for the future of Cocoon, Jenkinson explained, “Absolutely, it would be awesome if it [Cocoon Story Telling] was a twice-a-year or quarterly event.”

“I think it would be really neat too if we got the production side of it down…” Jenkinson stated, referring to the podcast and media venues by which the program will be broadcasting its events and future activities.

Jenkinson expressed her intent of giving high school aged people both a voice, and a venue to be heard through the Cocoon program, stating, “Allowing youth to have a voice—giving them the opportunity to have a voice, to share who they are, is really important, and helpful for feeling heard, feeling less alone, and bring people together. We would like it [the event on March 12] to be as big as possible.”

Tickets are currently on sale through the McMenamins website, and Cocoon’s website.

Photo Credit: Reuben Schafir

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (

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