Thank you for visiting Firsthand History!

The stories collected on the pages of Firsthand History represent many hours of effort on the part of 7th grade students of the Kealing Magnet Program.

During this six-week oral history unit, students schedule an interview, conduct background research, analyze interview methods, prepare questions, record an interview, and edit the raw material into an engaging story.

Many students interview family members or family friends, often eliciting stories and insights they did not anticipate. Other students seek out people they’ve never met but whose life pursuits they find compelling. In all instances, the focus is on finding the real stories.

In crafting the raw material into stories, students are charged with being faithful to the words and ideas of their interviewees. This promotes a deeper appreciation of the impact of judicious editing as well as a greater understanding of how easily words and ideas can be manipulated.

Our hope is that each time you visit Firsthand History, you will find a story to connect with. Though sometimes harsh and sometimes sentimental, real stories offer reflections and insights that reinforce both what makes us a community and what makes each of us unique.

About The Kealing Magnet Program

The Kealing Magnet Program, established in 1986 to offer an advanced academic option to students in Grades 7 and 8, was expanded in 2004 to include Grade 6. Students from all over the City of Austin have chosen to attend the Kealing Magnet for academic opportunities they cannot find elsewhere. They get on buses and into cars early in the morning because they are eager for the academic challenges they find in the Kealing Magnet Program. The Kealing Magnet Program has a well-deserved reputation for excellence in academics. The program offers students a rigorous and relevant curriculum: core classes at a more advanced level than the Pre-AP honors classes at other middle schools, and elective classes that extend and unify core class concepts and skills. Evidence of Kealing Magnet Program students’ high achievement is documented by the highest test results in the school district and by success in academic competitions.

The Kealing Magnet Program is a comprehensive advanced academic magnet program. Core classes in English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies are all advanced and all students enrolled in the program take these advanced classes. The curriculum and teachers’ instructional strategies promote independent inquiry and learning and allow students to develop their knowledge and skills significantly beyond traditional middle school expectations.