In 2017, Fildaus Umutoniwase moved from Uganda to Rogers Park. She wrote poetry for herself but talked to almost no one. At Sullivan High School, she met Samantha Spencer, a teacher who helps run the poetry club. At the StoryCorps booth, Fildaus — who is now a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign — talked with her former teacher about the process of growing comfortable.
Special thanks to Vivian Wan, who brought Fildaus and Samantha to the booth as part of an ongoing multimedia project. The music in the story was composed by Samantha Spencer’s band, Whatever Spectrum.
Bill Healy produces StoryCorps Chicago for WBEZ and teaches journalism at Northwestern University. Follow him @chicagoan.