Alex Gonzalez, ETA in Mulhouse
About 60 seconds left. Scripts full of last-minute edits were scattered throughout the tables. The last murmurs of rehearsals winded down.
Another 30 seconds passed. The slightest whisper sounded like a crash in this makeshift studio. The anticipation for the clock to strike 16:30 was even louder.
At 16:30, our signature jingle, “There She Goes,” by the The La’s, blasted through Lycée Albert Schweizter’s AV room.
The first episode of Radio LAS, live from Radio MNE 107.5 FM, officially kicked off.
Radio LAS, a monthly show hosted by students at Lycée Schweitzer in Mulhouse, is a collaborative project developed with La Nouvelle Communauté, a school-wide, community-building initiative founded by Catherine Wimmer, a Fulbright alumna.
The first show in November brought students, professors and staff together at the CDI’s AV room. There, we met with Old School, a media education association. They introduced students to the media in France and then helped us with the fundamental skills needed to make radio. These included mic placement, voice training and segment planning.
Given my background in journalism, I wanted to establish a monthly radio show as my Fulbright community project. Initially, I had thought about a newspaper or blog, but they felt less immediate. A live radio show could be an exciting, heart-racing experience. Plus, what better way for teens to express themselves than through radio. They don’t have to worry about being in front of a camera or attaching their names to a story. Making radio can help them discover their voices while working together toward a common goal.
The theme in November focused on engagement, inside and outside Schweitzer. Students discussed economic engagement; the environment; the arts; and community service.
More importantly, the radio show brought students together from all filirères, or academic tracks, such as the sciences or literary studies. Students from the sciences reported on the arts while students in the social sciences talked about post-bac opportunities in engineering.
This encompasses part of the philosophy of La Nouvelle Communauté: creating a school community in the spirit of those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Best of all, the radio allowed students to learn from one another and share common experiences. The various academic tracks can make cross-academic connections difficult to forge.
For our second show, we then headed to Radio MNE’s studios at MotoCo. Located about 15 minutes from Schweitzer, MotoCo is an independent radio association dedicated to reporting Mulhouse’s cultural scene.
In December, students took inspiration from memorable quotes and positive thinking. They shared their views on famous figures’ sayings and reported on events that related to positive thinking, such as learning a new language or a winter recital.
Since January was the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, students discussed the significance of free speech in the modern world. This episode also introduced the first two segments in English. One of my primary goals was to eventually develop a bilingual show. I waited until this point to give the students more time in their English classes as well as establish the radio’s presence at Schweitzer.
In addition to working with my students in the classroom, I enjoyed getting to know them outside of class. I bonded with the teachers, too. They have welcomed me to other school activities, such as the theater and drawing clubs.
Through the radio show, I have also been able to inculcate myself in Mulhouse. Old School put me in contact with MotoCo’s staff which invited me as a guest. I was interviewed about cultural diversity in Mulhouse during a special weekend marathon as well as a morning talk show.
Tune in to our next episode at the end of March. We’ll be focusing on women and gender equality.