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 15: Hope

To have hope means to believe that there are grounds for believing that something good may happen. It’s like fuel to us. It's hope. It keeps us going, keeps us striving for what might be different, what might be better. We all know stories of people who have lost hope, who have given up whatever journey they’re taking because the guiding light they once had has extinguished. Today’s episode is about what hope looks like to different people and how they manage to hold on to this sometimes elusive thing.

The first story you will hear is about two teenagers, two high school students, who have found hope in a most unusual place.

Then, you'll hear a story about what happens when we make a mistake with long lasting serious consequences. What if the consequences of those mistakes impact the life of someone else? Where can we find solace? Where do we find hope? Producer Yrah Rayos Del Sol has a story about Art and how Art has the potential to heal.

After that story you will hear one that is partly about the horrible ways in which we sometimes treat children, about the scars we leave behind. It’s also about the resilience of the human spirit. Anahi Rios has that story for us.

The next story is about Diana, a junior at our school, an athlete and a scholar. She’s intelligent and resilient. Like many of our students, Diana has been dealt a challenging life, one that she’s navigated wisely so far. She lives with her mom, a woman who has been both a mother and a father. Her relationship with her father has always been tricky, complicated by resentment and broken promises. It is a story that demonstrates the hope and resiliency of a daughter that understands the adult world and all its self-constructed illusions.

Our final story comes from producer Heaven Muñoz. In it she interviews someone trapped inside drug addiction, someone who sees hope as something negative, something dangerous.

All of us as The Four-O-Eight thank you for listening. We exist because you still listen to us!

Our program today was produced by Heaven Muñoz, Anahi Rios, Yrah Rayos Del Sol, and Tanya Mendoza. Our creative directors for this episode are Bryant Hernandez, Reyna Morales, Jezryl De Roxas, and Jose Olvera. Our production managers for this episode are Selma Ramos, Vanessa Reyes, and Louie Uy. Our marketing team is rocking our school with all kinds of cool posters and flyers 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 12: We Are The Four-O-Eight Season 2

Dear Listener:

Today, June 9, 2017, is the end of the 2016-2017 school year. In a couple of hours the space in front of The Cocoanut Grove will be full of excited families carrying balloons, flowers, cameras and, sometimes, celebratory signs that they plan to display during the ceremony. They’ll of course be disappointed because they can’t carry the balloons or signs into the theater. The students, those wearing their cap and gowns, will all be assembled inside the dance room. That’s where they line up; that’s where they say their first goodbyes. That’s where some of the first tears erupt, sometimes that’s even where old broken relationships get mended. After that they’ll march into The Cocoanut Grove theater where friends and families await them with smiles and tears and flowers. It’s all over so quickly, too.

This episode of the Four-O-Eight marks the end as well. It marks the end of season 2. Clap a little for us. It’s a big deal. We have a couple of serious followers, students who stop me on a regular basis to ask when the new episode will air. It’s exciting when that happens. I hope this last episode stays in your consciousness for a long time, just like the graduating class of 2017 will stay in mine.

In today’s episode you will hear six stories. Each one is individually produced, recorded, and edited by the individual telling the story. This episode was not a group project.

The first story you will hear comes from Anabell Cho. In it she explores the power of social media and the impact it’s had on her life.

Our next story comes from Annicka Tiu. Annicka explores what it means to be family, what it means to be affectionate and what it means to understand.

As our seniors graduate and some find themselves moving to other states to continue their education they find themselves saying goodbye to old friends and to boyfriends and girlfriends. In our third story, Franky Morales explores what his move to Oregon will mean for his relationship with his girlfriend.

I’ve heard people say that High School isn’t high school if there’s no drama. When some adults say this we say it laughing because in retrospect the drama that happens in high school looks very small from a distance. Some of us have forgotten the trauma of those dramas. Keiry Molina is no alien to drama and in our fourth story she explores the damage it caused and the lessons she learned.

Our fifth story comes from Elizabeth Rosa and, in it, she talks about her relationship with her brother and the way in which he indirectly carved a path she would be asked to follow, a path she didn’t necessarily see as hers.

Our final story comes from Jason Sims. In it, he discusses what it’s like to have a dream be deferred by a physical injury.

That’s it for us this season. We’ll be taking a break until September when the new staff of The Four-O-Eight begins their school year. Thank you for staying with us, for listening, for giving us your attention and your patience. We would be purposeless without you.

My name is Andres Reconco and I am the executive producer of The Four O Eight. Until next time.

Check out our promotional video:

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 for the amazing music.

-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 6: The Power of Perceptions

Dear Listener,

This month's episode is about the forces that shape our perceptions of everything around us and, often, our perceptions of ourselves. You’ll hear from a professional actor who discusses the role Hollywood has on shaping our perception of talent. You’ll also hear a story about a young man whose been influenced by his appreciation for Kanye West’s talent and a story about how a young woman’s search for love taught her the extent to which our perceptions of ourselves shape the way we interact with people.


Is it strange to run into teachers outside of school? The answers are surprising.

Story 1

Diversity in the film industry is important. We watch a lot of television, a lot of movies, and the power of this medium to shape the way we see ourselves and the world around us is palpable. Team Mosaic explores the power of the film industry and what we can do to help improve its diversity.

Story 2

The 24 hour news cycle is saturated by celebrity news. Sometimes we know information about a particular celebrity not because we go out in search for the information but because at some point in our daily browsing of the internet some bit of celebrity information will just appear randomly. Team Raconteur explores the impact the lives of celebrities have on our own lives.

Story 3

Dating is intimidating. Part of the difficulty might be that sometimes the whole act of dating calls for a shift in behavior, a shift in persona. Team Legacy explores the consequences of wanting someone to like us for who we are while actively choosing what we reveal about ourselves and what we don’t.


Our program today was produced by Tabina Mahtab, Keiry Molina and Anabell Cho. Our creative directors for this episode are David Calvo, Annicka Tiu, Guadalupe Espinoza and Whitney Gonzalez. Our production managers and marketing directors are Franky Morales, Brec Hipolito, Jaqueline Flores, Kimberly Romero, Harry Ahn and Yorgy Flores. All the research was carefully put together by Kiyomi Magee, Esther Yang, Alex Fuentes and Christopher Castro. I’m executive producer, Andres Reconco. Please follow us on Twitter and Instagram @The Four–O-Eight.


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

Visit this link to subscribe: