We’re Not Responding paves the way for a new class



We’re Not Responding is a student-run podcast at FHC as a part of an independent study.

“Hey guys,” starts senior Val Garza, “welcome to the very first episode of We’re Not Responding.”

Seniors Val Garza, Celine Merhi, and Masyn Cole released the first episode of their podcast last Thursday, Sept. 22. The show—called We’re Not Responding—is a part of an independent study with a brand new curriculum. 

Last year, teacher John Fisher—who runs the class—sent out a form for students wanting to participate in this new opportunity. Students had to respond with what type of podcast they wanted and what they would do, along with podcasts they listen to. After getting teacher recommendations and checking scheduling, he chose the first three students: Val, Celine, and Masyn. 

Then, the new program was off to a start.

“We’re running a pilot this year, so we only have three students per semester in it,” Fisher said. “Essentially, I’m trying to create a new VPAA class—kind of like Yearbook and FX—where students can learn to do their own podcast, how to make a professional podcast, how to do audio engineering, recording, and all that sort of stuff. They also analyze other podcasts to see what successful podcasts create and what they do. It’s dipping our toes into the world of podcast media and making it available for students.” 

I wanted ours to be whatever we want it to be.

— Val Garza

Since it is an entirely new class to FHC, Fisher has to develop the curriculum as they go. The small class size of three is critical to the success of the class for now. The students chosen are also a key piece in determining how well the curriculum will flow into future years and semesters.

While Fisher was the one to ultimately choose the students to start this pilot class with him, Celine knew it would be perfect for her and her friends. 

“I wanted to do the podcast because I felt like it would be a fun class to do with friends,” Celine said. “Masyn, Val, and I have always wanted to do a podcast. Whenever we’re with each other, for fun, we’ll take videos of ourselves hanging out and just record ourselves and talk to the camera. We thought the podcast class would be really fun, especially for us.”

The videos they would record may have only been meant for the three girls, but the podcast is available to so many more people. 

The podcast could be listened to by anyone worldwide, but Masyn believes it will stay on the smaller side, just not quite as limited as their phone-recorded videos.

“My vision is for it to just be a fun, high school podcast with all of my friends listening and my family members, if they want to join in on it,” Masyn said. “So not a big, widespread podcast, but just for people to listen to if they want to, or if they’re feeling lonely.”

The small-scale vision for We’re Not Responding allows Masyn, Celine, and Val to branch into different topics and know what listeners want to hear about. 

“The podcast is about a lot of different things,” Val said. “For the most part, we just want it to be chill, but it has a structure. It depends on what we want to talk about. It’s very follower-based. We want to have a lot of topics and question boxes for people to ask. Whatever they want us to talk about, we’ll talk about.” 

While listeners have opportunities to give ideas, Val still wants the topic to remain in their hands. The ideas for We’re Not Responding come from not only their imagination but also from countless hours of listening to other podcasts. 

Ultimately, Val, Celine, and Masyn hope to create a lasting memory for themselves by exploring different podcast facets. To tune in to their project, look for We’re Not Responding on Spotify, and check for new episodes on Thursdays.

“I listen to a lot of different podcasts,” Val said. “My favorites are the ones where it feels very chill—where it’s multiple people and they talk about their weeks and they have stories and this and that. That’s what I really wanted it to be. There are podcasts where you learn, or they’re very based on one thing, like music. I wanted ours to be whatever we want it to be.”