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Issues Teens Want Adults To Pay Attention To Before They Vote


KALW‘s podcast tbh — made by, for, and about teenagers — just wrapped up its second season. It’s the result of our journalists/teachers’ work with more than 100 SFUSD high school students and seven teens from around the Bay Area who took part in our summer high school podcasting institute.

This season was focused on issues that young people want adults to pay attention to as the election approaches. It’s timely and topical, and a valuable look into teenage minds in 2020 — a year of pandemics, protests, and divisive politics. Check out the episodes we helped produce:

Ep 1: Learning About Sexual Assault And Healthy Relationships — reported by Kennedy High School in Fremont graduate Zara Ahmed (’20)


Ep 2: Are You A Gamer? It Depends On Who You Ask — reported by Presentation High School in San Jose graduate Hannah Ni (’20)


Ep 3: The Tangled Web Of Cancel Culture And Activism — reported by Carlmont High School in Belmont senior Ava Richards (’21)


Ep 4: Wheelchair Basketball Is Just Basketball — reported by Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco sophomore Avery Dauer (’23)


Ep 5: Reflecting On Segregation At One Of The Most Diverse Schools In America — reported by Oakland Technical High School senior Chosang Tenzin (’21)


Ep 6: Schools Should Support Students — Not Criminalize Them — reported by Gateway High School graduate Masiyah Edwards (’20)


Ep 7: Why Basketball Players Shouldn’t Just ‘Shut Up And Dribble’ — reported by Sacred Heart High School in San Francisco graduate Maddie Johnson (’20)


Every episode also includes several commentaries from teenagers about issues ranging from harassment and bullying, to racial discrimination and equity, to privilege and poverty, to health care, immigration, and climate change.

I have never been more proud of a program the KALW news department has produced. For these students to come together and work so hard — through video conferencing and distance learning, no less — in such tumultuous times is a huge triumph. And the work is testament to how deeply they care and think about working hard and communicating their truths.

Also, I want to give an absolutely heartfelt shoutout to their lead teacher, organizer, and editor, Holly J. McDede, and their assistant teacher and editor, Sarah Lai Stirland (Audio Academy class of ’20), who went so far above and beyond what was asked of them, giving so selflessly of their time and energy to help these students be successful. I’m forever grateful.

Please give a listen to tbh. And, as these students have asked you to do throughout this entire season, share your own voice and vote.