Cristo Rey Students Finish Year at KFAI

continued from KFAI Network June 2012

Blake was reluctant to come to "Fresh Air, Inc." when he first heard about the opportunity, because he thought he would be doing work in a corporate setting at a firm responsible for "air conditioning or selling air conditioners." He was relieved when he learned he would work with KFAI Fresh Air, Inc., a community radio station. "My first thought about being on the air was of mixed emotions: I wasn't sure I would be prepared, but I was sure it would be awesome." 

Zatorri also thought it would be a good experience to work for community radio. "I thought working at a radio station seemed like a nice idea," she says. "When I got here, everyone was nice and greeted me and it turned out good." 
Nafiso was pretty comfortable on the air right away, but her favorite experiences at the station were off mic. Nafiso enjoyed filling in as a front desk manager because she most likes talking to people. 
All four students got to talk to a lot of people: part of their work at KFAI was to research, interview, write and record feature-length news stories. The students did all the work, from the ground up! They had access to some mentors they described as "great" and "really helpful," News Director Dale Connelly and Americorps Technological Inclusion Member Emily Krumberger.
"I have immensely enjoyed my time with the Cristo Rey students over the past nine months," says Emily. "As KFAI's AmeriCorps Member, I have worked with each student on looking for news stories, writing news updates, and reading them on air. I have also exposed them to youth radio--both from KFAI's Youth News Initiative archives and from youth radio programs across the country. I was excited each time a student was surprised that youth radio existed--and that they actually enjoyed the youth pieces. Listening to youth radio helped them understand that their voices and stories and those of their respective communities are important. Once each
student had done enough listening to the diversity in youth radio story topics and formats, I encouraged them to think about topics relevant to them and their community."
It was listening to stories produced by KFAI's Youth News Initiative interns that prompted Zatorri to take another look at the topic of bullying and gossip. She and Emily came up with questions, and she found there were a lot of people to talk to, even in her own life. 
"Each student wove a little bit of their own story into their pieces," Emily adds. 
Blake chose his topic because he heard someone he knows claim racism was not a problem in the United States because no one holds public lynchings anymore. As a sophomore in high school, Blake has studied racism, and hearing that statement made him think "just because we may not see these big acts (of racism) doesn't mean it's not still here." Blake says he wanted to "dig into what people thought of where we see racism here today, and how it affects you in your own life." Editing the story was a challenge because Blake had more material than he could include, but he learned to listen to the people he interviewed. He says reporting is not about "seeing where you want the story to look at what people are saying and where they're taking the story."
Nafiso's story is about beauty standards for teen girls. She chose the story based on what she saw in her own life--the effort she says she sees girls put into wearing makeup and looking a certain way. 
Mandeil drew on his own life for his story topic, too. He chose fatherhood and teen boys. His approach may be different than you might expect; instead of a story about teen fathers, it's a story about expectations in the role of fatherhood for all men. He says he does not have a close relationship with his own father, and he wanted to talk to other teens and men about father roles in their lives. For Mandeil, who came to the station not being a big public speaker, he found conducting the interviews "wasn't actually that hard." He found the biggest challenge to be coordinating the times people were available to be interviewed.
Stay tuned to KFAI Weekly News to hear the stories of our 2011 - 2012 Cristo Rey Jesuit High School students. We thank them for their hard work!