During my junior year, I was invited, along with three other students, to do a student exchange with Muskegon High School. This school was close to my high school, Spring Lake, geographically, but drastically different in almost every other way. Afterwards, my peers and I were interviewed by the Share Chair podcast about what that experience taught us. I can truly say I learned first-hand what the Share Chair Podcast was really about: opening our ears and our hearts to appreciate and begin to understand the people we are surrounded by on a daily basis (Obviously that’s just a lil tidbit: if you want to know more, check out episode 65 for the full interview 🙂 ).
Because of this experience, coupled with listening the podcasts that came before me, I knew that accepting the invitation to come alongside Mr. Theune on this project would entail a considerable amount of work, but that it would be necessary for my own growth, as well as our growth as a school, and as a community.
All of these things turned out to be true. Throughout the time I spent producing the podcast, I was challenged daily about the way I viewed and judged other people. It is cliche, but — wow! I was reminded week after week that what I thought I knew about a person — and what I continue to think I know about people — is really only the tip of the iceberg. In addition, this opportunity was a means of catalyzing conversations with those in school and the community about the value of hearing other people’s stories.
On a more surface-level reflection, the podcast also gives involved students the ability to gain practical skills. From learning editing skills, using social media as a productive tool, becoming a better listener, public speaking, time management skills, and more, producing the Share Chair Podcast gave me the ability to acquire skills that have proven important beyond high school and the podcast itself.
There is no doubt in my mind that the cause of the podcast is an important one, and I am thrilled to watch the ways it continues to work in our community, how it is benefiting those involved, and how those involved are benefiting it.