Some local high school students have become the first graduates of the Lanterman Historical Museum Foundation’s Virtual History Internship Program, which trained interns to conduct and record oral history interviews with La Cañada Flintridge residents.
The recorded interviews will be permanently archived in the Lanterman House archives, according to Laura Verlaque, executive director of the foundation.
The program, which was conducted remotely, was open to students in grades 9-12 interested in preserving local history. Interns completed training in research methods, interview techniques, how to process and preserve the interview, and legal and ethical guidelines. They then each chose a member of the community to interview and used a free recording app on their cellphone to record the conversation.
Interviewees came from a wide range of backgrounds and discussed diverse local topics, including education and schools, growing up in LCF, local history and businesses, diversity, politics and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Lanterman House archives will preserve the digital oral histories as part of the institution’s Oral History Collection.
“In 1979, shortly after La Cañada Flintridge became a city, the Historical Society of La Cañada Flintridge began interviewing residents and recording stories that might not otherwise have been told. These conversations provide diverse eyewitness accounts of a growing city, its community and its institutions,” said Julie Yamashita, Lanterman House archivist.
Among the student interns and interviewees:
• Tate Ahn (Westridge School) interviewed Henry Oh, attorney and member of the La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission.
• Tara Brennan (La Cañada High School) interviewed Tom Caswell, retired educator and active local volunteer.
• Vivien Chen (LCHS) interviewed Jonathan Jiang, research scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory and former member of the Foothill Chinese School board.
• Grace Fontes (Mayfield Senior School) interviewed Barbara Kuhl, lifetime La Cañada resident and St. Bede teacher.
• Lily Fontes (Mayfield Senior School) interviewed Mike Smith, third-generation owner of a local car dealership, Bob Smith Toyota.
• Adam Kakuk (LCHS) interviewed Judi Healey, retired local teacher and avid hiker.
• Allison King (LCHS) interviewed Linda Labrie, active community volunteer and master catechist for St. Bede the Venerable.
• Leo Masciandaro (LCHS) interviewed Tom Reynolds, business strategist and LCF resident for more than 60 years
• Jackson Moore (LCHS) interviewed Nancy Leininger, long-time resident and local teacher.
• Shelby Perez (LCHS) interviewed Carol Liu, former mayor and California state senator, who also resides in the original house of Jacob and Ammoretta Lanterman.
• Matthew Yoshida (LCHS) interviewed Soo Choi, a banker, lifelong resident, and advocate for education and Korean American community engagement.
“We designed a program that provided opportunities for our local high school students who were not able to volunteer or work in person this summer,” said Verlaque. “We couldn’t be happier with how the program worked out. The students showed enormous creativity and enthusiasm and we’re so grateful to the interviewees for sharing their time and their stories.”
The Lanterman House is a bungalow-style historic house museum in LCF and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house was commissioned by Dr. Roy Lanterman in 1915 and was built by A.L. Haley, who was a prominent builder of residences and commercial buildings in the Los Angeles area. The Lanterman House also features a historical archive of the Crescenta-Cañada Valley. The archive is available for research by the public.
For more information, visit lantermanhouse.org or email email@example.com.