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🔉 On the Record


When Tony Farag and his friends first thought about starting a podcast, the idea was mostly a joke.

JVHS Podcast club recording a podcastThe Jurupa Valley High sophomores had noticed their daily lunch conversations were filled with humor, interesting questions, and good-natured debates - just like the podcasts they enjoy themselves. They were curious about what others in their school would think of their insights. But they were not serious.

Until club rush happened, and the call for any last-minute clubs turned a joke into a reality. 

“I think like a day before the deadline was up, we went over to Mr. Gunty because he's pretty much one of our favorite teachers,” shared Tony. “I asked him if he'd let us start a club and he said yeah, and so we just started the podcast club.”

Half a year later, the club has begun publishing material online via the Instagram account, @jvhs_podcastclub. The group needed time to get organized and develop a routine. “The first couple episodes…it was just complete scatter-brained nonsense,” shared Tony.

Tony recording, other members chiming in during a podcast sessionAs the club’s president, Tony provides structure. He brings a list of topics to each recording session, often curated by his vice president, Michael Zamora. However, the plan always leaves room for lively spontaneity. “It just goes all over the place,” said Tony. “It’s my favorite part.”

Tony also makes sure that what is published is appropriate for listeners. “If it was just me or just them, it would either be boring or it would not be allowed to be posted,” he joked. Podcasting has taught him to be more mindful of his words and has furthered his overall public speaking skills. Tony is learning how to direct a conversation in a way that maintains a necessary semblance of order without stifling entertainment or creativity. 

Michael Zamora brings his innate inquisitiveness to the podcast, asking questions to find out what his friends would do in a given situation or how they imagine past events unfolding. “I've always found deep questions to be an interesting topic to go into,” he shared, “like [trying] to find out what other people think about things.”

Podcasts are recorded during lunch on Fridays, then edited by member Daniel Cosme. Daniel pulls clips to edit, adds captions and fun images to the audio, then posts the result to Instagram. Currently, the club has five official members but also features special guests from the student body. 

JVHS Podcast Club, 5 members“For the most part, they operate independently,” said John Gunty, club advisor. Mr. Gunty teaches A.P. European History, and a few of the podcasters are also his students. “They're just really energetic and enthusiastic about learning things…and they have some pretty interesting conversations. It's fun to see how eager they are to learn and how eager they are to share that with the campus.”

As the club continues, Mr. Gunty hopes to see more students follow the podcast and even join the group. “It’s a really positive community that they’re building, and it's nice if other students can join that,” he shared. “It gives them a place to belong.”