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Episode 17: This is Us

It’s the end of another school year. Today our seniors will graduate and they’ll experience the joy of their community coming together to celebrate this huge accomplishment and then, after all the partying, after all the dinners, they’ll begin a new phase in their lives.

Congratulations class of 2018! We will miss you. LAHSA will miss you.

This is our final episode of season 3. Like it’s been our tradition for the past two seasons, this final episode is dedicated to the individual stories of the staff of the Four-O-Eight. So much of their time they have spent it exploring the stories of other students, of other lives, and now it’s their turn. And, boy, do we have an episode for you.

Yrah Rayos del Sol is a happy soul. She can make you smile and laugh with her silliness and her energy. She’s a great actor, a talented singer and, overall, a strong human being. In this first segment Yrah shares a story that demonstrates this strength and also gives us a peek into the world that surrounds her and from where she grabs her strength.

Kayla Ybarra is a natural story-teller. From the moment I met her I knew she would be an asset to the AP Lit class because of the passionate way she speaks about reading and literature in general. I have seen Kayla’s strength and courage. I have learned about the obstacles that she’s had to overcome, that she continues trying to overcome. In this next segment Kayla shares a story that she comes back to, again, and again, like how we come back to the things that are difficult and exhausting to unravel.

Every time my students do this assignment I am reminded of everything they carry with them as they make their way through life. I am always amazed by their strength and courage and their ability to survive. And I’m also reminded of how important it is for help to be available for them to deal with the, sometimes, emotional trauma they carry, that it’s not enough to simply acknowledge their pain as if the simple act of adults knowing is of any consolation or of any help. In this next segment, Sally Melchor talks about the importance of talking, of solving, of not letting things fester.

Tanya Mendoza is one of those students with whom you always want to have conversations. She’s lively, smart, kind and she’s paid attention to her eighteen years in this planet.  She has no problem challenging any views she disagrees with but she’s also open minded and very willing to have her mind changed on any topic (if your arguments make sense). I’ve had my share of conversations with her but her segment for this episode surprised me. Here’s Tanya with her story:

High school friendships are important, I think. You learn about yourself through your interaction with people and high school is when you’re starting to pay attention to who you are, you know, to the nuance of you. In this next segment Reyna Morales discusses friendship, what it has meant for her and how her views have evolved in the last year.

Carlos Garcia is a quiet dude. He always seems lost in thought, as if he’s contemplating the meaning of all that surrounds him. He’s one of those kids I wish I would have had more conversations with, more time to bond. In this next segment, Carlos shares the power of dreams and how dreams can sometimes be powerful allies in life.

I can’t think of Bryant Hernandez and not think of music. It’s impossible. I think that’s true for anyone at LAHSA, students and faculty alike. You can tell by the way he is immersed in whatever is playing in his headphones that when he is listening to music he is in the music and that everything outside his head has blurred. In this next segment, Bryant explores this and lets us peek into this world in which he belongs.

I want to thank the entire staff of The Four-O-Eight for all their hard work and dedication to this Podcast. You are amazing human beings and we’re gonna miss you here at LAHSA. I can’t wait to see you walk the stage tonight. You’re gonna have so much fun.

Episode 14: While the X-mas Lights Glow...

I love the holiday season. I love Thanksgiving, all that food. I love December because it’s basically a whole month of Christmas. I love the cheesy Christmas songs and the fact that everywhere you go there’s just so much color and so much light. I don’t even mind the crowds at the mall. I even like going to the mall just to be inside those crowds while Christmas music plays out of the mall speakers and I can hear the distant sound of carolers somewhere in the mall, maybe somewhere near the Hot Topic. It’s just that everything says “Be Happier!”. Look, here’s some twinkling lights! Be Happier. Hey, listen to this cheery christmas song! Be happier! And it works for me. And in that almost magical state (yes, I think it’s magical) it’s easy to forget that regular life continues for everyone. That’s what this episode is about. This episode is about what else happens while the lights twinkle and the star above the tree glows and the cheery songs bounce up and down inside your head.

Our first story comes from producer Anahi Rios, She interviews Hermila and through her story we learn what it’s like to live with the weight of the loss of a parent.

We’re very lucky at our school to have a very strong support system for students who struggle with attendance, with academics, with making choices about college and career. Kristi Martin is one of those people who provides that support for our students and she’s had to move quite a long distance to be here on our campus. Producer Yrah Rayos Del Sol has that story.

Our next story is about the search for home, about what we take with us when we’re displaced. Production Manager Louie Uy has that story for us.

Our final story of this episode is about the way in which divorce sometimes pulls young people into the ugly situation of having to choose sides or having to choose with which parent to spend the holidays. Producer Carlos Rivera has that story.

Thank you again for remaining loyal listeners to our podcast. If you know someone who would like our show spread the word. If you’re a high school student and you have friends in other schools tell them about it. Tell them there are young people telling their stories to others and that maybe they should listen also.

Oh yeah, we also still have some Four-O-Eight pins. If you’d like one and you have a dollar to donate to our podcast please stop by room 408!

Our program today was produced by Anahi Rios, Yrah Rayos Del Son, Tanya Mendoza, and Carlos Rivera. Our creative directors for this episode are Reyna Morales, Jezryl De Roxas, Jose Olvera, and Eunice Choi. Our production managers for this episode are Vanesa Reyes, Shania Maestrado, Louie Uy, and Maria Monzon. Our marketing team is rocking our school and its members are Sally Melchor, Jesse Luna, Carlos Garcia and Allison Ambrosio. I’m executive producer, Andres Reconco. Please follow us on  Instagram @The Four–O-Eight and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes. Thank you for listening. Tune in next month for another episode of “The Four-O-Eight”.

Episode 11: The Way Out: Stories of Survival

Dear Listener,

I think it’s pretty common knowledge that some of the most important lessons we learn are lessons that difficult experiences teach us. Some of those experiences could be avoided, I guess, if we listened to our parents or to our friends or to the experiences of strangers. Others, however, just can’t be avoided and we’re forced into that turbulence and we either emerge from it wiser and stronger or we get stuck inside that chaos. That’s what today’s episode is about. Today we look back at that turbulence and we explore how some people got out and what they learned and how they’ve grown.

In our first story, producer Lupe Espinoza talks to Joey, a senior at our school, about the death of his uncle and about the power of music.

Our second story comes from producer Elizabeth Rosa. She interviews Angelica and together they explore what it takes to find courage and conviction.

Our third story is about Yami, a senior at our school, and about the lessons she learned after her first encounter with death.

Our final story by our producer Tabina Mahtab is one of redemption, it’s about finding a new purpose, a new role in life after being in the grips of gang life.

Thanks for listening. Our program today was produced by Lupe Espinoza, Elizabeth Rosa, Franky Morales, and Tabina Mahtab. Our creative directors for this episode are Anabell Cho, Ha Bin Lee, Karla Baires, and Brec Hipolito. Our production managers and marketing directors are Luz Cruz, Jonathan Sims, Jason Sims, and Se Mi Han. I’m executive producer, Andres Reconco. Please follow us on Twitter and Instagram @The Four–O-Eight and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes. Thank you for listening. Tune in next month for our final episode of this 2nd season of “The Four-O-Eight”.

Thanks also to incompetech.com for allowing us access to their sound files.

Episode 10: What We Wish We Could Say...Freely

Dearest Listener,

At The Los Angeles High School of the Arts we try our best to guide our students through a journey of self discovery. We ask them to reflect on who they are, what they like, what they hate, what they need to improve on. They’re good at it too. Our tenth graders, for example, write poetry that is very personal, full of personal insight, full of some very beautiful and purposeful vivid imagery. Some are even willing to share the poems in front of class. They’re brave like that.

This episode is an extension of that. We’ve titled it: “Things I wish I could say…freely”.

You’ll hear a story about a student who feels isolated because of her sexual orientation. You’ll also hear a story about an educator who grapples with finding the appropriate way of engaging her students in discussions about government in a way that is fair towards the government and fair towards the people this government represents. Finally, you’ll hear a story about a young man’s trauma, stemming from an unhealthy relationship with his father.

Our program this month was produced by Franky Morales, Tabina Mahtab and Lupe Espinoza. Our creative directors for this episode are Anabell Cho, Karla Baires and Brec Hipolito. Our production managers and marketing directors for this episode were Luz Cruz, Jason Sims, and Se Mi Han. I’m executive producer, Andres Reconco. Please follow us on Twitter and Instagram @The Four–O-Eight and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

We'd like to thank Kevin McLeod from incompetech.com for the amazing music.

-The Four-O-Eight

Episode 9: Unmerry X-Mas

 

Dearest Listener,

I know you know this because it’s obvious everywhere you go but it’s the holiday season! It’s Christmas time, Hannuka time, Kwanzaa time and you can even push the holidays into January and celebrate el dia de los tres reyes magos! I’m excited. I love the holidays. The food, the company, the vacation. All the colors everywhere, all the lights. I even like the crowds at the mall. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like this season.

With that said though, there are people for whom this season is not fun, not pleasant…for whatever reason.

This month’s episode focuses on the holiday season and on the different ways in which people experience these days. You’ll hear a story about one of our producer’s frustrations with not being able to celebrate Christmas with her family. You’ll also hear one of our teachers discuss what it’s like to be Jewish during a season which is heavily influenced by Christmas. Then you’ll hear a story about how one young woman still holds on to the idea of Santa Claus and the reasons why she does this will make you smile but will also put a litte bit of sorrow in your heart. Our final story will about a young woman for whom the holiday season is not as joyful as if could be and it’s all because of her parents.

Thanks for listening! Our program today was produced by Lupe Espinoza, Keiry Molina, Elizabeth Rosa, and Franky Morales. Our creative directors for this episode are Anabell Cho, Karla Baires, Ha Bin Lee, and Annicka Tiu. Our production managers and marketing directors are Yerim Hwang, Jonathan Sims, Deysi Atenco, Jason Sims and Luz Cruz. I’m executive producer, Andres Reconco. Please follow us on Twitter and Instagram @The Four–O-Eight and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes. We’d like to thank Kevin McLeod from incompetech.com for allowing us to use the song “Carpe Diem” and “There is Romance” for this episode. Tune in next month for another episode of “The Four-O-Eight”.

Episode 8: Horror Stories

Hola, dear listeners,

This is the first episode of season 2 of The Four-O-Eight! How crazy is that?! We're very excited about this!

Since we’re so close to Halloween we decided that it would be fitting to look at situations that have the potential to be terrifying to us and how we go about dealing with said situations. You will hear an interview with the newest members of our LAHSA family, Mr. Matthew Muranaga, in which he discusses his love and appreciation for horror stories. Our second story is about what it's like to be an undocumented student right before high school graduation. Our third story is about a young woman who has had a close relationship with this supernatural world that most of us fear so greatly. In our final story we hear about a woman who could have been the victim of a demonic possession.

Our program today was produced by Tabina Mahtab, Keiry Molina, Elizabeth Rosa, and Franky Morales. Our creative directors for this episode are Karla Baires, Ha Bin Lee, Annicka Tiu and Brec Hipolito. Our production managers and marketing directors are Yerim Hwang, Jonathan Sims, Deysi Atenco, Sarah Bong and Se Mi Han. I’m executive producer, Andres Reconco. Please follow us on Twitter and Instagram @The Four–O-Eight and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes. Thank you for listening. Tune in next month for another episode of “The Four-O-Eight”.

-The Four-O-Eight Staff

Episode 7: We are The Four-O-Eight

This months' episode is a bit different. Here at The Four-O-Eight we've told the stories of our classmates, our teachers, our parents and our community. In every one of those episodes we've narrated bits about ourselves as well, bits that are woven into the fabric of the segment. This month, however, the focus is solely on us, on our spirits, on our stories, on what makes us the human beings we've become. It's our turn to look inward, to face our demons, to face our angels.

The iTunes Podcast contains 9 of the 19 stories told by us.

You can listen to it here:

 

Below you will find ALL the stories. They are honest, true and required courage and rigor to put together.

This is who we are in our rawest forms.

Enjoy.

 

Franky Morales

Franky Morales

Franky and his father have, to put it mildly, a troublesome relationship, one full of resentment and anger. In this segment, Franky confronts his father and explores the reasons for the chasm that has grown between them.


Brec Hipolito

Brec Hipolito

In the year 2012 Brec made his journey from The Philippines to The United States. This is the story of that journey and of the difficulty of that transition.


Elizabeth Rosa

Elizabeth Rosa

Elizabeth's mother had to make a choice. That choice would cause waves throughout Elizabeth's family. This is the story of that choice and how it impacted and continues to impact Elizabeth's life.


Alex Fuentes

Alex Fuentes

Alex is a talented student and a talented member of The Four-O-Eight. But, last year, Alex learned a lesson about team work, about stress and cooperation. This is the story of that lesson.


Marianna Morales

Marianna Morales

Marianna and her brother Juan suffered under the hands of their father. He was physically and mentally abusive. This is Marianna's story and of how she has tried to make sense of it all.


Jenny Hyung

Jenny Hyung

Jenny has always had questions about why she and her brother weren't close when they were growing up. In this segment Jenny talks with her brother and they try to hash out the reasons for their apparent disconnect.


Christopher Castro

Christopher Castro

Chris Castro was a trouble maker when he was in middle school. He never thought his actions would put him in danger of being labeled a "criminal". In this segment, Chris and his mother explore the event that pushed Chris away from "childishness" and into the more serious world of criminal behavior.


Consuelo Hernandez

Consuelo Hernandez

Two years ago, Consuelo knew she was destined to marry the guy she was dating. She knew their wedding was going to be big and she knew they would live happily ever after. What she didn't know was that she was stuck in a relationship that was unhealthy. In this segment, Consuelo looks back at her time in this relationship and, with the help of her mother, tries to figure out what happened.


Guadalupe Espinoza

Guadalupe Espinoza

Guadalupe is a shy person. She's quiet and introspective. In this story she reflects on how her shyness has been an obstacle for her and how one decision she made helped her overcome this very difficult challenge.


Annicka Tiu

Annicka Tiu

Annicka lives surrounded by choices that carry with them some very serious repercussions. In this segment she explores how so many of the choices that exist in front of her seem to carry serious consequences and what this constant stress has done to her psyche and her spirit.

David Calvo

David Calvo

David Calvo has a little sister, someone who looks up to him and admires his skills and his passion. David understands the power of this responsibility but also the challenges that come with it. In this segment he explores what it means to be an older sibling and how some of his choices have created unnecessary stress for his little sister.


Keiry Molina

Keiry Molina

In this segment Keiry Molina discusses how one teacher taught her much more than academics and how these lessons have shaped the young person she is today.


Anabell Cho

Anabell Cho

Anabell feels disconnected from her mother, a situation that has left her wondering where in her family she can find support and comprehension. In this segment, Anabell talks to her sister about what they can be for each other in the absence of a guiding parent.

Esther Yang

Esther Yang

Music has the power to shape our perceptions of the world and of ourselves. In this segment, Esther examines how music has shaped her perception of love, peace and politics.


Kimberly Romero

Kimberly Romero

Drugs have the potential to destroy lives. Kimberly understands this really well. In this segment she shares the story of how drugs changed her family's life.


Jackie Flores

Jackie Flores

Everyone enjoys traveling. It's fun and you get to learn about other cultures and other people's way of life. But, it's different when you have to move to another country to live there, to continue your life there. In this segment, Jackie and her two younger sisters share their experience of what it was like to move to Mexico and try to make a life there.


Jocelyn Martinez

Jocelyn Martinez

Eating disorders are not uncommon. Advertisements and movies tell us how we're supposed to look, tell us what is considered beautiful. Jocelyn Martinez examines her own journey through living with an eating disorder.


Tabina Mahtab

Tabina Mahtab

We carry our bodies with us everywhere we go. We learn to love and hate those pieces of us that we feel don't meet our expectations of what is normal or beautiful. Tabina talks about a part of her she sees as flawed and what it has taken for her to finally be comfortable with every piece of her.


Yorgelys Flores

Yorgelys Flores

Yorgy is a dancer. Everyone at our school knows it. She's talented and passionate. In this segment, she explores how dancing has become a powerful force in her life and why it's shaped her to be the person she is today.

Music for all episodes comes from: http://www.bensound.com

Episode 5: What We Don't Talk About

Dear Listener,

In this episode we focus on the things we don't like to talk about, issues we often find taboo or embarrassing or even dangerous. You'll hear a student talk about an extremely difficult decision, one that has changed her life forever. Then, you'll hear a story of a 10th grader who exposes the heartache her relationship with her father has caused her. After that you'll hear about a junior and her mother and how they have overcome the awkwardness of the sex talk. Finally, you'll listen to the story of a sophomore who shares her struggle with depression. You're in for a ride.

 

Prologue

Andrés Reconco, our executive producer, speaks about the life that sometimes gets in the way of young people's ability to learn in school. His insight is important to anyone who wishes to get involved in the academic life of teenagers.

Story 1

Abortion is a controversial topic. There are strong feelings for and against it. This makes it a difficult topic to discuss. Team Mosaic has the story of a student who, when faced with an unwanted pregnancy, had to make this difficult choice.

Story 2

Haley is a 10th grader. In class she’s quiet, soft spoken, creative with her writing, deep with her poetry. She smiles a lot, laughs and plays around with her friends. Overall she’s a happy young woman. There is one topic, however, that puts a cloud over her head. The topic is her father.

Story 3

For many parents, talking about sex with their sons or daughters can be awkward and maybe even embarrassing. It shouldn't be. Team Phoenix has the story of Jimena and her mom and how they approached this sometimes tricky subject.

Story 4

Our final story is about the powerful force of depression. Team Racounteur tells the story of Sally and her struggle to find help.

 

Please remember to visit the iTunes store to rate our podcast and to leave us a comment.

Visit this link to subscribe: http://apple.co/1KVHcfM

 

Episode 4: Valentine's Day

Dearest listener,

In this episode we explore Valentine's Day. We look at how Valentines day is sometimes more than just about romantic love and materialistic devotion. You’ll hear a story about high school sweethearts, another one about the crazy things love makes us do and then one final one about a special kind of love, one you don’t necessarily think of when you think of Valentine’s day.

Prologue:

Executive producer Andrés Reconco interviews different students about what Valentine's day means to them. The responses range from funny to romantic.

Story 1:

Team Legacy explores the relationship of two LAHSA students: Blanca and Christopher. They discuss how they met and what keeps them together.

Story 2:

Team Raconteurs interviews Giselle, a girl who, because of love, decides to break rules she'd never considered breaking before. In the process she learned a lesson about love and companionship.

Story 3:

In our final story, team Phoenix explores Cecilia's love for someone very dear to her heart. She teaches us a lesson on the power of appreciation.

Please remember to visit the iTunes store to rate our podcast and to leave us a comment.

Click here to subscribe: http://apple.co/1KVHcfM