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Retired Oceanside educators share stories of impactful people on podcast

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In the early ’70s, at the former Oceanside Junior High School on Merle Avenue, a friendship was born. It was after school, and a group of 13-year-old boys gathered in the gym for one of their first intramural basketball practices. Among them were Tom Capone and Richie Woods, both now 61, who would become educators in the same school district and lifelong friends in the same town. “We were friends ever since,” Capone said. “We’re like brothers.”

Both men had long careers in the Oceanside School District — Woods taught science at the high school and retired in 2017; Capone was principal of School No. 2 and retired last year. But they had never worked together, they said – until now.

As co-hosts of their own podcast, “Power of Three,” Capone and Wood’s mission is to give people an outlet to share stories. Along the same vein, Capone runs the “Life Stories” program at Oceanside Library, where local residents can be interviewed and featured on Capone’s podcast “Spoiler’s Alerts.”

Capone and Woods knew their days of educating would not end in retirement. They also knew they had stories to tell — not just their own of a decades-long friendship, but of people making an impact on the Oceanside community and beyond.

“Everybody has a story to tell,” Capone said. “Not everybody has an opportunity or a form in which to share it. And I think that’s one of the things we are providing.”

Capone’s interest in storytelling sparked when he began interviewing his father, Dr. Anthony Capone, 91, for “Spoiler’s Alerts.” He learned things about his dad that he’d never known, he said, and now those conversations are recorded for his children, grandchildren and anyone in the world who has a podcast app and cares to listen. All of Capone and Woods’ podcasts are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor and several other apps.

Around the same time, podcasting was also taking off at Oceanside schools. Social studies teacher Mitch Bickman was leading “StoryCorps-inspired” activities to get students engaging with the community.

StoryCorps is a national nonprofit whose mission is to document oral history of Americans, and it has spawned projects influenced by it at schools and libraries across the country. Capone said he was hooked on podcasting. “Every day more and more people are learning about podcasting and it’s fun to be a part of that world,” he said — so he asked to do something similar at the library.

“We thought it was a perfect fit for what we do at the library,” said Tony Iovino, assistant director for community services at Oceanside Library. “It’s helping us to build an oral history of Oceanside, to preserve and present the history of this community.”

So far, “Life Stories” has eight episodes. In one of them, Oceanside resident Joan Lee shares her experiences living with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare, genetic disease that severely impairs vision, and getting around with a guide dog.

While “Life’s Stories” focuses primarily on people with a connection to the library, “Power of Three” reaches further to people making an impact around the globe. It also adds Woods as a co-host, under the idea that a conversation between three people is more enriching than a one-on-one interview, the duo said. Guests on the podcast have included artist Ben Bataclan, actor David Paymer and photographer Lisa Ross.

Capone and Woods did not gloss over the inspiration that their hometown brings to “Power of Three.” In the first few episodes, they interviewed Iovino, varsity football coach Robert Blount and Oceanside native Steven Dodge, who recovered from drug addiction and founded an organization to educate about the

“We look forward to continue interviewing as many people as we can,” Capone said. “What makes this as gratifying as it has been is the fact that we’re doing it together.”