Are you looking for a great way to keep up with the latest on Pleasanton High School students and alumni, as they share what makes PHS great?
Pleasanton High School teacher Janie Olivarri, also a PHS graduate, came up with the podcast idea following a road trip with her family to Tennessee.
“On the road trip my oldest daughter introduced me to podcasts. She said, ‘Do you listen to podcasts? We can listen to podcasts on our road trip.’”
They listened to her daughter’s favorite podcasts which made the trip exciting.
“I couldn’t wait to get back into the car to listen to the next podcast,” said Olivarri.
A particular one, “You’re Wrong About” debunks myths and topics from the 1980s and 1990s.
On their way home, Olivarri thought about how Pleasanton High School should have a podcast. She pitched the idea to her principal, who liked it. The podcast needed a name and while the topic each week would be different, there needed to be a unifying theme.
“What can be exciting for Pleasanton High School? What would make the kids want to tune in every week? Not just that, how could we get our community involved with the podcast, too?” wondered Olivarri.
After some brainstorming, they came up with “The Big E Broodcast!” It is fitting since Big E is the PHS mascot and they have the Big E News. A brood, explained Olivarri, is a nest of birds.
“So every week, it would bring our little eagles to the nest to listen to our podcast,” said Olivarri. “That’s how the name came about.”
When they considered what could be discussed each week as a theme they chose, “What makes PHS great?”
Each week, they focus on a different type of student and a PHS graduate in the same field.
“It’s great for everyone, but for different reasons, “ Olivarri said. “That’s what we decided to do. We’ll focus on the leaders of the school and people that are involved in a niche at school. Then, what would be even more cool would be to get some alumni to come back that were part of that particular organization.”
There have been eight episodes this year and the list of featured students and alumni thus far includes:
•The Quarterbacks: Sean Ramos, Class of 2023 and Brandon Clyburn, Class of 2001.
•The Drum Majors: Cody Mills, Class of 2021 and Melissa Hernandez Landin, Class of 1994.
•The Newspaper Editors: Heaven Marquez, Class of 2021 and Sue Brown, Class of 1977.
•The Culinary Students: Alexander Castillo, Class of 2021 and Becca Gutierrez Shafer, Class of 1997.
•Men’s Soccer Players: Isom Smith, Class of 2021 and Norman Garza Class of 2002.
•Baseball Players: Ty Hehman, Class of 2021 and Ray “Buddy” Gallegos, Class of 1990.
•The Valedictorians: Matt Garcia, Class of 2021 and Wes Shahan Class of 1983.
“It’s been great to see what makes PHS great to our current students and what makes PHS great to students from the past,” Olivarri said.
A call was put out for a host, which gave the interested students a chance to interview. Nathaniel Goodman was chosen as the host of the podcast and will be a senior this coming school year.
“He has been really good and so mature. He keeps the conversation going and he’s been doing a really great job with our podcast,” Olivarri said.
Goodman will serve as podcast host again next year. As Olivarri shared, he is gaining valuable real world experience and skills in hosting, editing sound and how to publish a news feed.
“I just think it’s a great idea and I just want our community to know that this is available. Maybe they know some of the alumni that are featured in our podcast.”
Podcasts range from 15 minutes to an hour and as Olivarri noted, summertime is the perfect time to find the podcasts on Spotify and connect with students and past alumni from different decades. The alumni have especially found joy in having the opportunity to reflect on their PHS years and experience.
“It’s been nostalgic for them as well,” said Olivarri.
With school out for summer, the podcast will take a break and return again in September.
Olivarri is proud of their student-produced podcast and describes it as a treasure that everyone should listen to.
Olivarri has taught at PHS for 21 years, a job that she loves. She teaches AVI and AVII, Digital and Interactive Media and an independent study class. She has taught numerous classes over the years.
Host Goodman moved to Pleasanton from Fort Benning, Georgia.
“I’ve always enjoyed listening to podcasts personally,” shared Goodman. “My two favorites are ‘Welcome to Night Vale,’ which is kind of a comedy/ mystery thing where it’s a radio station in the middle of nowhere and the other one is called ‘The Adventure Zone.’ It’s like ‘Dungeons and Dragons,’ so I’ve always had the dream of running my own podcast because those people kind of brightened my days. I wanted to do the same thing.”
When he saw the announcement on Google classroom, he applied for the position.
Through hosting, Goodman has improved his social skills and talking to people. He has also learned how different PHS is between the graduates’ time there to now. Goodman has learned computer tricks on Audacity, the editing and recording platform he uses. He has also learned about band and the different elective courses PHS offers.
In keeping with the podcast theme, Goodman shared what makes PHS great to him, especially as someone transferring from Georgia.
“What makes PHS special to me is, as a kid growing up I was in a military family. We bounced around every two to four years. So with every friend no matter what, in the back of your head you’re thinking, ‘They’re gone or I’m gone.’ Coming here and being able to meet someone and realize, ‘I’m not going anywhere. They’re not going anywhere’ and just the amount of cooperation between the community and the school blows my mind,” said Goodman.
In all of the other towns he lived in, he would only see one or two families with a school poster or banner in their yard. He loves how in Pleasanton, all the gas stations and businesses, both big and small, show their support for the school.
“It’s beautiful to see how much cooperation exists between everyone, compared to a military base where everything is rigid and cold.”
For the new host that fills Goodman’s role when he leaves after graduation, he reminds them not to overthink their job as host, especially with the first show. He encourages them to interview their guests the same way one would talk to a friend.
After graduation, Goodman plans to attend the University of North Texas in Denton and study either social work or psychology to try and help as many people as he can.
“I’m very honored that I got the opportunity to do this. It’s been a dream come true.”