Sharing Stories Across Generations

Collecting and Preserving Each Others’ Stories

SAIL (Shepherdstown Area Independent Living) will present a panel discussion on Collecting and Preserving Each Others’ Stories on Tuesday, October 1, at 7 pm at the Byrd Center on the campus of Shepherd University.  With support from the WV Humanities Council, the program is free and open to the public.

The panel will be moderated by Dr. Jerry Thomas, Professor Emeritus of History at Shepherd and SAIL member; Betty Snyder, local author and SAIL member; Dr. Keith Alexander, Associate Professor of History at Shepherd; and Caitlyn Sheets, 2019 Shepherd alumna. The panel presentation is part of a year-long intergenerational project entitled “Hear This! Sharing Stories Across Generations.”  The project matches a SAIL member with a Shepherd student to conduct oral history interviews of each other about the transformative experiences in their lives.  

Panelists will share a sample of the stories collected and discuss the benefits of two generations talking together about what shaped their lives.  The panel presentation will also promote the value of oral history as a way to preserve local stories and aims to inspire other groups to use oral history as a way to save the rich variety of stories in our community.

Launched last spring, the project will yield 20 hour-long interviews of seniors in SAIL and Shepherd students at Shepherd that are being recorded and transcribed. A central question of the interviews is, “What events or persons have influenced the course of your life?”  Ten SAIL members and ten Shepherd students are participating in the project

Once all twenty stories have been collected and preserved, they will be available to the public at the Scarborough Library of Shepherd University and the Martinsburg Public Library.  The project will wrap up in the spring of 2020 when selected SAIL members and students will tell their stories to a public audience after being coached on how to craft and tell a story by Shepherdstown’s internationally acclaimed story teller Adam Booth.

The October 1st panel is co-sponsored by the Historic Shepherdstown Commission, the History Department of Shepherd University, and the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education

SAIL’s will be presenting a second panel on Collecting and Preserving Each Others’ Stories moderated by Dr. Marie Tyler-McGraw on Saturday, October 12, at 3 pm at the Martinsburg Public Library on King Street.

SAIL (Shepherdstown Area Independent Living) is an organization helping seniors remain in their own homes and actively engaged in the community as long as possible.

You may download the event flying by clicking the file link below:


Marianne Alexander, Project Director,
SAIL website: www.shepherdstownSAIL.orgSAIL
email address: