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Desmarais students break new ground with podcast

Podcast Leaders
Posted on 06/21/2019
LAD students

A group of Grade 7 students has taken the concept of morning announcements to the next level by embracing modern communications technology to share information and improve engagement with their school community.

LAD Catch-up Corner is a new podcast hosted by L.A. Desmarais Catholic Elementary School Grade 7 students Mariette Elghaname, Theresia Hady, Madison Mclean, Giovanna Patcas, and Ellyana Rubino.

Under the direction of teacher Brian Trenholm, the girls got together in September as the school’s Media Club, creating some blogs and web content.

“When we started I don’t think our first goal was to make a podcast,” said 12-year-old Madison Mclean. “We just wanted to inform people.”

Since that time, the girls have put together seven episodes, which are recorded in the school’s teacher prep room and then uploaded to anchor.fm, a podcast hosting web site. They can also be found on Spotify. Once the shows are uploaded, they tweet out the link from the school’s Twitter account.

“In September they didn’t even know what a podcast was and within a few months we had it going really well,” said Trenholm, a self-described podcast junkie. “We were trying to improve communication between school and families and this is one way of doing that. It’s been a lot of fun. These girls are solid students and individuals and they’ve embraced this with a lot of eagerness and enthusiasm.”

The girls say as far as they know, there are no other WECDSB schools using this kind of format to share information with their school communities. Besides covering school events, they also invite special guests on the show. In one episode they talked with a teacher about STEM education, and in another they discussed some physical changes being made to the school with Principal Tania Sorge, who said the show is a great way to improve parent engagement.

“The students are really enjoying taking a leadership role and they’re doing a great job with their interviews and keeping everyone posted,” she said. “They’re very confident in what they’re doing. The more they practiced, the better they got and we’re really proud of them.

It’s brought our school into the 21st century. The podcast has been a huge success.”

Sorge said many parents listen to the podcast, as well as staff members.

“We had one teacher tell us that it really made her day because we put jokes and stuff like that to include our personalities, because that’s what people want to hear, not just events,” said 12-year-old Ellyana Rubino. “It’s probably the most fun thing we get to do at school.”

The students say doing the podcast has made them think about career options, improved their presentation and communication skills, as well as their confidence.

“It helps us get out of our shells a little bit,” said 13-year old Giovanna Patcas. “Even if we don’t go into journalism, if we apply for another job maybe it’ll help us open up to other people and share our ideas more openly because we’ve had that experience before.”

The girls are all looking forward to continuing the podcast next year and will train some younger students who can carry on the tradition after they graduate. They say they want to make the show more serious by inviting a diverse range of guests on who can talk about issues that impact their school community.

“Next year it’s going to be a lot better because we already know how to do it,” said Rubino.

You can listen to all episodes of the podcast here.


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