DENVER - When Paul Clifton's students started studying the issue of immigration, he realized perhaps the best way for students to learn was for them to share their own history.
Clifton teaches fifth grade at McGlone Elementary School in the Montbello area of Denver. Nearly all of the students at McGlone are minorities, most of them Latino. "The idea that they have amazing stories, too and their parents went through a lot for them to have a better life and to become Americans," Clifton said.
"Like almost everyone in the class, their parents were like immigrants," Melanie Contreras, fifth grade student, said.
So, they created a podcast entitled, "The Immigration of Room 121". Some students have family members who are undocumented. Clifton says he wanted his students to chronicle how their family got to America.
"And why," Clifton said. "Why would that make that sacrifice? Why would you give up so many rights?"
Edwin Quezada says his father told him that he wanted to get away from the violence and poverty of Mexico.
"When I interviewed my dad, my dad told me that he came crossing through the desert and it took him three days," Edwin said.
He says he gained a new appreciation for his father.
"By interviewing our parents, we, other people know how much they sacrificed to come over here," Edwin said.
Melanie says she wants to change people's perception of immigrants even those who crossed the border illegally.
"At the end, someone watches them and they see how someone feels," Melanie said. "This should be the beginning of making a difference."
Students unveiled the podcast Thursday night for the school community as a special assembly. If you want to hear the podcast, click here: http://bit.ly/1WSFLAy
"Those stories can impact our classroom and also impact the world if we tell those stories and allow everyone to learn and, you know, develop empathy," Clifton said. "I believe that they will change the world through this podcast."
(© 2016 KUSA)