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Students interview community leaders, celebrities for podcasting class

A group of La Cañada Unified elementary school students recently took a turn at the mike, interviewing notable community figures for a class that teaches would-be entrepreneurs how to use podcasting to promote ideas and causes they care about.

Sunday's LCF Community Hero Forum was a capstone project for students enrolled in a young podcasters course offered by School-X, a local nonprofit that teaches kids the ins and outs of entrepreneurship through a series of after-school classes.

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Interviewers prepared questions intended to provoke insightful reactions from their subjects, including comedian and TV host Adam Carolla, La Cañada Mayor Terry Walker, JPL scientist Xu Zhang and La Cañada Unified School Board member Joe Radabaugh.

Paradise Canyon fifth-graders Sofia Flores-Sirolli and Claire Lin teamed up with La Cañada Elementary School fifth-grader Joey Zefi to ask state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) his advice for kids who want to change the world, and how to safeguard schools from gun violence.

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PCY sixth-grader Montana LaBarge spoke with YMCA of the Foothills executive Tyler Wright about the importance of healthy living, while Paradise Canyon third-grader Milo Lin talked with former MLB infielder Greg Dobbs about his entry into major league baseball.

"It was so amazing," School-X Executive Director Susan Yim said of the sessions. "I was blown away at how well these students were versed and how confident they were."

Zach Jennings, who with fellow Paradise Canyon dad Eric Lin founded School-X in 2016, said podcasting encompasses several entrepreneurial skills, such as presentation, solid interviewing and marketing.

"The concept for the podcasting class is let's teach these kids how to record their voices, refine their voices and how to ask good questions," Jennings said. "It's about making something come to life with just your idea and your questions."

Students recorded Sunday's interviews on their own devices and will produce their podcasts with intros, segues and special effects. Organizers say the podcasts will be made available online sometime in June.

Twitter: @SaraCardine

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