Home > Empowering the next generation through the art of storytelling

After weeks of meticulous post-production and an outpouring of support, 2023 SESI Teacher of the Year Kristi Hoffman and students from the Academic Six high school classroom at the High Road School of Wright City proudly present their Women’s History Month podcast. The special project podcast features interviews with some of the remarkable women who help lead SESI.

The spark for this project ignited when Executive Director Mary Claire Engel issued a challenge to her classes: explore Women’s History Month creatively.

“What started with the idea of sending interview questions to women throughout the organization led to a ‘what if’ moment to interview the women,” said Hoffman, who voices the podcast’s introduction. “If passion and intensity could be felt in the answers, how amazing would it be to hear these women speak their words into life?”

Volunteering his time for this project was Academic Three lead teacher Casey Hutchison, an award-winning podcaster himself. With his knowledge of editing, the team transformed interviews into a seamless narrative, showcasing the wisdom and experiences of their interviewees, making the vision a reality.

A diverse group of female educators including social worker Kathryn Zoellner, Diane Myers, Ph.D. senior vice president, special education – behavior, Ellen Gaske, Ed.D, senior vice president academics and Celeste Chatman, vice president, diversity, equity, inclusion and talent management, worked the project into their busy schedules and took the time to talk to the students and lend their voices.

Students Paisley, Sara, Mason, Jayden, and Ely took turns as interviewers, diving deep into conversations with female leaders. Each interview was crafted to find out both career-related information such as challenges they see women facing in the workplace, and some personal details including the type of student they were in school and their favorite musical artist – Pink was a fan favorite.

Mason enjoyed how everyone listened and answered extra questions. Paisley liked the conversations and meeting new people. Sara loved getting to spend time with teachers and teacher’s aids that she might have not seen or talked to as much and Jayden was inspired by the passion of the interviewees.

“The experience was a testament to the power of academic engagement and shared enthusiasm. From discussing project-based learning to bonding over mutual musical interests, the interviews were a testament to the bonds forged through education,” said Myers.

The journey doesn’t end with Women’s History Month. Plans are already underway to explore new themes and reach out to students from other SESI schools, amplifying the platform for diverse perspectives.

“This project was a labor of love and excitement,” said Hutchinson. “We hope everyone enjoys this hourlong episode. It was a pleasure to put together for the Academic Six classroom. I most certainly had lots of fun!”

Tune in here and prepare to be inspired by the voices of tomorrow.