Not Your Ordinary Podcast


Everyone’s bringing different things to the table, and not just different perspectives, but also different skills and strengths,” LeDoux said.

The popular high school story: a group of students, all attending the same school and living in the same neighborhood–yet worlds apart. Found in classic movies like the 1985 drama “The Breakfast Club” and more recent T.V. shows like “Freaks and Geeks” (1999), this theme has become a well-known aspect of Hollywood. However, stories like this are rarely expected to occur in non-dramatized high schools.

However, at Decatur High School (DHS), that exact situation is taking place. Sophomores Carmen Hardwick, Halle Gordon, Hally Laney, Jasmine Barnes Diaz, Kriston Esnard, MK Moore and Renny Hyde have come together for to start a podcast they hope will have a vast and lasting impact on the school.

The idea took shape on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 11, when all of the students initially got together for Decatur 101. The event was organized so that current sophomores could enlighten new parents about their high school experience.

The group of sophomores was put together by Ms. LeDoux, an Instructional Coach and IB Coordinator at DHS. LeDoux wanted to help educate new parents and students about what it takes to successfully maneuver through the highschool experience. Therefore, she contacted students who were in 10th grade student government, as well as other students with a variety of personalities and backgrounds.

The element of variety is predominantly what makes these students stand out from others.

“We’ve all had different experiences in high school, which I think is what makes this podcast a good idea,” Hyde said. “By listening to the podcast, you’re getting so many points of view.”

Esnard plays football for the DHS team. Gordon and Hyde enjoy writing and thinking creatively. Laney is a relatively new student, having moved to Decatur in January 2018. Their combined passions make it easier to have a well-rounded collection of opinions and insights to pass down to those coming after them.

Despite the range of mindsets in the group, there hasn’t been much conflict between the members. All of the students chosen for Decatur 101 are seen by their teachers and peers as leaders and effective communicators. So, when the seven students got together, they already had many skills needed to succeed.

“You can just try to embrace the people that you’re put together in a group [with],” Laney said.

They also have a strong motive to produce content.

“After Decatur 101,” Laney said, “we had parents come up to us saying how helpful it was.”




Each student in the podcast team knows that what they’re producing can impact more than just them and their peers. There is a potential for the information to help a great number of people.

“We want to advertise to Renfroe for the eighth-graders… so they can listen to our podcast and get a little less nervous about high school,” Hyde said.

The group is still unsure about where and when the podcast episodes will air, as well as what equipment they will use for the recording process. However, the team is clear that they want to reach out to the parents of future classes at Decatur High School to inform them about the social perspectives, extracurriculars and time management high school demands. Many of the podcast members are also looking forward to connecting more and learning from both upperclassmen and lowerclassmen. Plans for interviewing other students in other classes to get their take on topics like the IB Diploma Program are already underway.

“I’m kinda sketchy on the details about the IB Program, so we’re planning on having a guest come on to talk about it,” Hyde said.

Additionally, the podcast has the potential to create a better environment for everyone at DHS– administrators included.

“[The podcast] seems to me like it’s going to be one more window in for us to really hear and know what students are thinking,” Ledoux said.. “If we find out students are experiencing things a certain way, then we might be able to adapt some things based on that kind of feedback.

Although this patchwork group still hasn’t finalized every aspect of the podcast, the sophomores are certain that they want it to help as many people as possible, and teach other what they would have wanted to know when starting out high school.

“We’re still not sure what we’re gonna call [the podcast],” Laney said, “but it’ll be along the lines of ‘we’re still figuring it out, too.’”


Photos courtesy of Renny Hyde