Students at Mercy High School in Middletown, joined by their school’s president, have launched a podcast to connect students with alumnae and the community, while providing a hands-on opportunity for students to take on the role of journalists, learning interviewing skills and technical aspects of producing audio programs.
The podcast, Tiger Talk, has already produced a half-dozen episodes since it's recent launch. All are available on the Mercy High School website. Students from 50 cities and towns throughout Connecticut attend Mercy High School, a Catholic diocesan college preparatory all-girls high school; members of the school’s Broadcast Journalism Club are taking the lead in developing the podcast.
Upcoming guests include Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim, joined by Mercy High AP Government students. The most recent podcast features Mercy alum Lori U. Fazio, Chief Operating Officer of RJ Julia bookstores, based in Madison and Middletown. She is joined by Mercy student Julia Marotta, discussing Mercy's Breakfast Book Club, which she founded.
“The students are very enthusiastic about this project, and it is wonderful to work with them directly,” said Mercy President Alissa DeJonge, who has been the voice of the podcast’s initial episodes, introducing guests and handling the interviews. “They are doing more with every episode, and getting the word out about this new academic enterprise. It is already proving to be a tremendous learning experience, and we’re excited to add this to our rigorous and engaging education curriculum.”
Plans are for students to take on an increasing role in the podcasts, on both sides of the microphone – conducting the interviews and producing the programs using new digital audio workstations and collaborative editing software, as well as identifying guests, researching topics, and publicizing the programs, on and beyond the school campus.
The podcast will provide opportunities for students to hear directly from alumnae in various fields about their career pathways, and create opportunities to make connections with student clubs in their particular fields. The school’s Broadcast Journalism Club is working diligently in developing the Tiger Talk podcast, and it has been a welcome addition in this most unusual school year due to precautions necessitated by COVID-19.
The podcast episodes can be heard at https://www.mercyhigh.com/page/podcast-tiger-talk The episodes generally run 20-30 minutes. Individuals can also subscribe on multiple platforms, including iTunes, Google Play, SoundCloud, Stitcher and Spotify.
Recent episodes include a focus on ecology, with members of Mercy’s Ecology Club discussing steps the Mercy community is taking to be more environmentally conscious, a conversation with Mercy Soccer Coach Marcus Harley and co-captain Kaila Lujambio about the team’s championship season, and a discussion with students Abby Weaver, Lily Herron, and Mrs. Sara Brugger, Music Director and Tri-M advisor, about the process of creating the podcast music. Recent podcasts guests also include Sister Mary McCarthy, RSM, Mercy High School's longtime former president.
Mercy High School Media Specialist Jennifer Crutchfield has edited the initial episodes, but as Tiger Talk continues, those responsibilities increasingly move over to students. As students proficiency develops, their role in the podcast episodes will expand.
Podcast music and artwork was created by Mercy High School’s art and music students. The artwork for the Tiger Talk logo was created by senior Kayla Fordyce. The students held a contest, voted, and selected her design as the podcast series was launched. The theme music was developed by students Abby Weaver and Lily Herron.