The goal of this podcast is to give you the story of the 9th Grade here at Emmaus High School through the people who live it daily - the students and staff. We will attempt to touch on the real issues and stories that 9th grade students face in order to prepare them to know that #ehs9counts.
Season 3, Episode 34: 5th Grade Experience Passion Projects
On this special episode of the 9th Grade Experience we take it back to elementary school, as we hear 5th grade students at Wescosville Elementary share their passion projects. Thanks to Mrs. Feher, one of the 5th grade teachers, for reaching out to the podcast to ask for assistance in helping her students record their work in audio form. In addition to the background information on the purpose of the projects, Feher also shared her own freshmen year story along with hopes for her current student's future school careers.
In sticking with the theme of the podcast, at the end of their presentations, each student was asked what they think 9th grade might be like for them in a few years. Below is a list of students, topics and the order they appear in this episode.
Ella and Maddy - Animal Extinction
Leah - Animal Shelters
Ryleigh and Grace - Saving Arctic Animals
Paige - Depression in Older Adults
Olivia - Nature Therapy
Season 3, Episode 33: Freshmen Throwback with Grace Comfort, Class of 2021
Grace Comfort, Class of 2021, has an impressive list of accomplishments displayed on her #2021EHSGradSpotlight poster that has been promoted through various East Penn School District social media accounts over the last few months. She serves as the president of Peers Assisting Learning Support (PALS), Student Government Association Secretary and EPSD School Board Representative, and National Honor Society member among many other things.
But most importantly, Grace is a strong self-advocate. During a Genius Hour project in middle school, Grace investigated her own learning challenges and eventually discovered she had dyslexia. While transitioning to high school, Grace spent her 9th grade year figuring out how she could best learn and perform at a high academic level. While it wasn't always easy, Grace's story shows that with courage, compassion, connection and a desire to never stop questioning that great things are possible.
She plans on majoring in psychology at Lafayette College.
Season 3, Episode 32: 2nd Anniversary Special Episode with Students Organizing Against Racism
For the second anniversary of the 9th Grade Experience Podcast, we highlight the work of freshmen Elizabeth "Tami" Adesanya and Brasciana "Brassy" Ford in the establishment of the newest student group Students Organizing Against Racism (SOAR). Along with faculty advisor, Eyer librarian Mrs. Magro, Tami and Brassy are working to bring awareness and change to the mindsets of the Emmaus High School community through information and advocacy about what it means to be a person of color. Topics discussed include:
The purpose behind SOAR
What does it mean to be "anti-racist"
How do we involve and engage students to care about these issues
What does it mean to be an "ally"
Messages for adults serving on committees attempting to drive equity discussions at EHS
We also asked today's guests to provide some additional resources beyond our show to expand our listener's knowledge about these issues and those are included below:
Racial Equity Tool Kit
I know the books “Heavy” by Kiese Layton and “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas are both amazing books to put into perspective what it’s like to be Person of Color (POC) in America. Also, raceforward.org is a website that can be helpful for others to recognize their privilege and become a better ally.
Mrs. Magro’s Picks
If I could recommend just one book (tough for me to do!) that I think everyone should read it would be This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell, and one podcast for teachers would be the Teaching Hard History podcast from Learning for Justice.
Mr. Stuchko’s Picks
Listen to the EHS student newspaper podcast interview with Tami and Sydney Clarke - EHS Stinger Podcast SOAR Interview
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X.Kendi
** All book links above will take you to the website for Let’s Play Books in Emmaus, Pa. **
Season 3, Episode 31: Teacher Appreciation Week 2021
This week, we give a special shout out to our amazing teachers here at Emmaus High School as we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week! We hear from three of our outstanding faculty members - Mrs. Horner, Mr. Remaly, and Mr. Iobst - as they give a little background about themselves while attempting to make connections to their 9th grade year and what influenced them to become a teacher. We asked each teacher the following questions:
1. Did something during your 9th grade year influence your decision to become a teacher?
2. What do you love about your job?
3. What are some words of advice that you have for current or upcoming 9th grade students?
Season 3, Episode 30: Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference (PETE&C) Edition
This special edition of the podcast was recorded on Thursday, February 11, 2021, at the virtual Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference (PETE&C). The session titled “9th Grade Experience - PETE&C Edition” was held on the final day of the 4-day event which is a “statewide event that provides quality programs focused on technology in the educational field.”
During this interactive session that featured educators from across the state, some of the topics covered included
Attendees and their 9th grade experience
Anticipated technology knowledge for students entering high school
Expansion of the use of technology for more creation
Expectation of student’s relationship with technology by the end of high school
Thanks to Hayley Gunther, Instructional Technologist at the Academy of the New Church for appearing on audio and video during this presentation. Also thanks to Kelly Ender, Paula Bridgewater, and Amy Mele for providing written feedback in the chat throughout the presentation.
Thanks to PETE&C for allowing the podcast to use the audio and video from my presentation. For more information, please visit https://www.peteandc.org/ or follow them on Twitter @peteandc. Next year’s conference is scheduled to be held February 6-9, 2022 in Hershey, Pa.
Season 3, Episode 29: Freshmen Throwback with Class of 2021 President Brendan Baig
Brendan Baig has quite the resume. He is the current Class of 2021 president. He is a National Honor Society member. He is a member of the Track and Field program. He founded S.A.V.E. (Students Advocating Vape Elimination) and participated in several organizations and clubs. In the fall of 2021, he will be attending the prestigious CALArts program, with the intention of majoring in film composition in order to compose music for films.
But, as we learn in this episode, the story behind Brendan’s resume is way more impactful than the words on the paper. He tells us about the moments during the transition from middle school to high school that changed his mindset, his experience as a foreign exchange student and host when he hadn't even studied the language, and how improving the skills of communication has opened the door for so many opportunities throughout high school. Brendan’s stories are a tale for ninth graders and all high school students as to what is possible when you have vision, develop key skills, and reach out for support along the way.
Follow and Subscribe to Brendan on Social Media
YouTube: The BB Composer
Special thanks to Brendan for allowing us to his parts of his original composition “The March of the Hornets” during the beginning and end of this episode. This song is scheduled to be performed during the 2021 Baccalaureate celebration and will be featured during the 2021 Pennsylvania Music Educators Association’s Open Track Competition session. For more of his original work, visit his YouTube Page.