The one-of-a-kind “Baldwin Bruins Sports Podcast” is entering its third successful year with a new lacrosse varsity athlete crew. Regularly created by co-hosts Amanda Antoine and Toyin Green and their producer and editor, Akshay Sahonta, the podcast continues the tradition of breaking records and winning awards.
Making the podcast slightly different each year, Gregg Kelley, a business teacher at the high school who provides oversight for the project, encourages each host to make it his or her own. This year mental health in athletics is something co-hosts Antoine and Green have decided to focus on with the community.
Antoine spoke on the choice, saying, “I feel we haven’t talked enough about it and let everyone know if there is someone who has mental health issues or eating disorder they can listen to the podcast and get help.”
He also wants to give voice to former students, saying she wants “to bring alumni and other guests on the podcast to talk about [mental health]…how to handle it and go through the process of dealing with it. Also, eating disorders too are very common in athletes, so we want to bring awareness to that.”
Antoine explained that only the “best of the best on and off the field come on [the show]. They need good reputations in general, only good characters needed.” The podcast represents all the sports offered at the school, so there is an equal distribution of attention. They also try to give new freshmen a roadmap as to what to expect trying out for sports and how to get involved.
Aligning schedules, writing scripts, gathering game and match scores and stats after events, these teens spend hours a week making sure the podcast is perfect.
Sahonta explained how he handles the tasks of editing the episodes and how important time management is: “How you manage your time is how you’ll become more successful in your life, and it’s a nice lifestyle to have.”
All the effort that goes in is not wasted either. The podcast, which is available on all major platforms, has some episodes with more than 600 listeners, and the team averages 200 listeners per episode. Antoine said her social media goal is to bring “bruinspodcast” on Instagram to 1,000 followers.
Kelley said the group is self-governing, “I’ve been blessed with great students all three years that took it serious, took pride in it, stayed on top of it.”
Antoine added, “You can’t slack,” explaining that during the interview process for the podcast it was a requirement to be dedicated.
Although they all went through the interview process, Sahonta was recommended to try out, initially not knowing the school had a podcast. Sahonta made a business pitch, and the teacher loved the video editing quality of his work, so he was encouraged to try out, wearing a business suit that day.
The podcast has opened each senior’s horizons, but as for the future, they are still working it out. Antoine said, “I’m really enjoying the podcast…it’s really fun. Maybe I’ll take it further out of high school, but as of right now I’m not sure.”
Green said, “Doing the podcast opened my eyes as to where I could go with it. As a kid, I grew up on sports talking about the games, and it opened my horizons to the future for college.”
Each team member is equally elated to be working together in a fun environment. Green said, “I’m really excited for the rest of this podcast. I think this going to be a really amazing year.”
Antoine followed, “I’m excited for this year, off to a good start and getting better and more fun.”
Sahonta concluded, “I’m excited to just edit this thing…listening to them mess up is so fun… We’re going to do a bloopers reel.”
The podcast is not the only involvement each has in the school. Sahonta is also a school-to-career team leader for the high school. Antoine currently serves as the chief operating officer for SuppLI, Baldwin High School’s Virtual Enterprise, and is part of the Future Business Leaders of America club, while Green plays girls’ varsity field hockey, is a member of the National Honor Society and involved in the Key Club, among her other extracurricular activities.
Initially started by the class of 2020, the Baldwin Bruins Sport Podcast is growing fast, becoming popular not only in Baldwin but also Long Island-wide. Two years in a row, the Press Club of Long Island awarded the podcast first place for Best High School Broadcast. The podcast has also been nominated for Best of Long Island 2022 Bethpage Federal Union competition. Voting is open now through Dec. 15, at bestoflongisland.com, and each person can cast a vote once a day.
Others in the Baldwin Union Free School District who have been nominated for Best of Long Island 2022 are Dr. Neil Testa, the Baldwin High School principal, and Tom Catapano, the girls’ varsity basketball coach and a phys. ed. teacher.
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