MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some southern Minnesota high school students forced apart by the pandemic have found a new voice through a popular podcast.

In St. James, difficult conversations are helping teenagers through some tough times.

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“I guess it all started in our junior year really when we had to go distance in March,” Nick Brey, a podcast host and St. James senior, said.

He admits it’s not the script students at St. James High School would have written had it been up to them.

Tyler Chapin is also a senior at the high school.

“One of the main goals of the podcast is that it gives kids a voice. Especially during this time where nobody really knows what’s going on in everybody else’s heads,” Chapin said.

But, through the power of a microphone they’re able to tell their own stories.

“I hate when people even ask me how I’m feeling. I think feelings are so scary,” one student says on the podcast.

From mental health to perfectionism, goals and grades, “Teen Talk” covers a wide range of well-researched topics.

“Almost 25% reported showing depressive symptoms,” Brey points out while hosting this week’s show.

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Steve Chapin is a health educator and supervisor of “Teen Talk” at St. James High School.

“I think in this whole process of distance learning our students have lost their verbal voice. It’s become a very silent educational system. It’s hard for them to get that out,” Chapin said.

When they do they’ve found how similar their feelings are.

“It’s not just a teen issue but an everybody issues during the pandemic,” Nick Brey said.

The podcast launched last month as St. James 62 seniors entered their sixth learning model since September.

Karla Beck is Principal of St. James High School.

“It’s ultimately what we want all of our kids to do is take their knowledge to a deeper level and to apply it to who they are and to their world around them. This is a really good example of that kind of learning,” Beck points out.

Connecting through honest conversation.

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Teen Talk is also available on Spotify.

Liz Collin