December 15, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—When Raul Altreche lost his mother to AIDS as a young boy, his whole life changed. That moment set him on a path that would eventually lead to Amherst. Today, with tragedy behind him, Raul has a difficult story to tell, but he feels compelled to tell it in this year’s release of the Amherst Story Project.

Begun in 2004, the project asks students to respond to an open-ended request for meaningful life stories. Expected length, tone, format and subject matter are unspecified to allow for maximum personality in each piece. Past submissions have included tales of youth activism and life in pre-war Afghanistan, but this year, Altreche’s memoir, “Living,” proves especially poignant.

Altreche is joined by four other student authors, each of whom had their submissions chosen from a growing field of entries. All students selected presented their stories at this year’s annual homecoming festivities at an event celebrating the diversity of experience within the Amherst community. Along with last year’s selections, their stories are available on the Web at