High school podcasts sparking important conversations

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – A small podcast studio is making room for big conversations for students at a local high school. Using a public-school proud grant, Washington High School Teacher Lara Hanson bought podcast equipment for her English Language Learning class. It’s used to educated her students, but it’s also informing others about real-world topics.

Racism is a familiar topic of discussion amongst Washington High Juniors Shukrin Jawad, Solange Nyambeanjuka, and Alice Nyamashashi.​

Courtesy: Sioux Falls School District

“It’s important to us because there are so many kids out there who face racism – not just kids: there’s a lot of people out there, and, sometimes, they’re afraid to talk about race because they might get hurt or something might happen to them,” Nyambeanjuka said.

Through their podcast, the are providing a safe platform for students and teachers to have these conversations.

“We are hoping to give them something to educate themselves and take something out of it. It’s not just something to listen to but you can get something out of it,” Nyambeanjuka said.

Courtesy: Sioux Falls School District

Their English Language Learning Teacher Lara Hanson bought the equipment for her class through grant money from the Sioux Falls School District. The initial intent was to help them learn valuable conversation skills, but through recent historic events, it’s grown into something more.

“It just seems like perfect timing for students to talk about issues that are important to them and have their hearts heard on really important subjects,” Hanson said.

The class split into groups and recorded their own podcasts. Their topics range from their experiences immigrating to America, adjusting to a different culture, bullying, gun violence, and drugs.

​“It’s very applicable to their lives. Like, we had a team that did talk about gun violence and there was a student, a friend of theirs, who was killed recently, so it helps them to process that experience, to come together and support one another,” Hanson said.

Courtesy: Sioux Falls School District

And that the weight of these conversations is something we can all take part in carrying with us in our daily lives.

“So, we just want to talk about it and tell them that there’s a safe place where you can always talk; that you can talk to someone and they will be there for you,” Nyambeanjuka said.

Hanson says that the podcasts will be available for anyone to stream.

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