Alameda Students Shine in Nat’l Public Radio Podcast Challenge

The results of this year’s National Public Radio Student Podcast Challenge were announced on June 3. The Challenge received more than 2,200 podcast entries from students all over the country. From this competitive pool, judges chose two grand prize winners, 25 finalists and awarded 215 honorable mentions. Of 12 podcasts submitted by high schoolers at the Alameda Community Learning Center (ACLC), one was among the nationwide finalists and two more received honorable mentions.

Juniors and seniors Griffin Becker, Liz Breidinger, Carlo Pryor, Ella Rossi and Sara Zhu achieved finalist status with their CV19 Podcast, covering discrimination experienced by Bay Area Asian American communities and businesses during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Their classmates Isaac Acree-Paez, Aidan Gleason, and Aidan Ladenburg received an honorable mention for their submission, Can an AI Write a Good Podcast?, exploring the potential and risk in artificial intelligence technology that can mimic human communication. 

Finally, sophomores Jonathon Elias, Daysia Smith and David Velasquez received an honorable mention for their Teens Suffer in Silence Podcast, about the pressures teens feel from family and society.

ACLC English teachers Lynn Kameny and Molly Fenn guided the ACLC teams through the Podcast Challenge, which was made even more challenging by the switch to distance learning in March. Both were impressed by the tenacity their students showed and immensely proud of the recognition they earned from the NPR judges.

NPR challenges the participating students and teachers to take a topic, a lesson, or a unit they’re learning about, and turn it into a podcast between three and 12 minutes long. 

To help classrooms get started, NPR has also shared suggested, but not required prompts, along with a set of criteria that judges will use to pick winning podcasts.

Winners have their work featured on NPR  local and national stations, as well as online.