The latest congratulations came from Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn and Jean Luna, chief of college and career technical education.
Schwinn recently contacted Jon Minton, EHS principal, to offer praise. “Congratulations to your 11th graders who won the NPR Student Podcast Challenge! Winning a national competition … illustrates your … making learning meaningful and relevant for your students,” wrote Schwinn.
Luna said, “I'm thoroughly impressed with their latest award from NPR. Kudos to you and your faculty for promoting innovation and encouraging your students to extend learning beyond the classroom.”
Shwinn and Luna were referring to the accomplishments of a team of four EHS students: Jaxton Holly, Deanna Hull, John Gouge and Caleb Miller.
They placed first in a competition that included nearly 6,000 submissions and 24,000 students from all 50 states. Their winning entry was the story of the famed circus elephant Mary, titled “Murderous Mary and the RISE of Erwin.” Two other EHS student teams also received honorable mention in the competition.
The students were guided by English teacher Tim Wasem, who has received some attention of his own.
Wasem has been invited to present at this spring’s Tennessee Council for Social Studies state conference by the board member Dusty Helton. Wasem’s students are creating podcasts for the competition again this year.