NORTH SMITHFIELD – From factors influencing what school they will attend, to the pressures and uncertainty that come with the decision, Cali Keovongsavang and her friends understand the stress facing graduating seniors at North Smithfield High School.
Keovongsavang has launched a podcast tackling such topics, with hopes to draw more attention to student-focused mental health, social dynamics, and relationship dynamics as her senior project this year.
The first episode of her podcast, Hear me out (I am not a therapist) went live this week.
“This is to represent the seriousness of what I plan to discuss, but to also have a playfulness – to remember that I’m a teenager who’s goal is to speak to other adolescents and help them, yet I am not a licensed therapist,” she said of the name.
The first 22 minute segment, titled, “we think we know what’s gonna happen,” is now available on Spotify.
In it, Keovongsavang and her friends, Julia and Jordan, talk college – hitting on everything from their parents’ expectations, to the lack of scholarship opportunities.
“I don’t like this specific school that I was accepted to because I know that it’s so close that I should just live at home, and if I’m at home than nothing’s going to change, and it’s going to be high school all over again,” said Keovongsavang in the piece. “I see pros to that because I have separation anxiety.”
To choose her first topic, Keovongsavang surveyed members of the NSHS student body about things that were causing them stress.
“A lot of them said college and school,” she said.
Keovongsavang told NRI NOW that it was a feeling of disconnect that prompted her to launch a podcast focused on student issues. The laid-back, casual format aims to make the program more relatable to her young, target audience.
“For teens who know absolutely nothing or anyone who wants to know why teens know absolutely nothing,” notes the “about” section of the audio show.
Senior projects are a graduation requirement at the school, and guidelines dictate that students work with mentors in the community who are professionals in their respective fields, and complete research papers, ultimately submitting a portfolio on the experience.
NRI NOW reporter and publisher Sandy Seoane has been serving as Keovongsavang’s mentor.
Watch for more on Keovongsavang’s project to be published in an upcoming edition of the NSHS student publication Wicked Good News or listen to her first episode here.