It was a beautiful summer day in August, and even though students were still out on break, there were lots of people preparing Minnehaha Academy for another year of learning. There was also some construction work that caused a gas leak. It sparked an explosion that rocked the school physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Emma Melling was getting ready for her senior year as she heard about the tragic incident, and as a journalist for her school newspaper, she knew she had a job to do.
When she found out that one of the people who lost their life in the explosion was the school’s well-loved janitor John Carlson, the story took an even more personal turn.
Emma had interviewed John before for a newspaper project, and she realized that she still had the audio of the phone call. So she decided to use that audio along with interviews from classmates and other staff to make the August 2nd Stories Podcast, which was a New York Times top ten winner in their Student Podcast Contest.
I had a chance to talk with Emma about her experience. She shared where she heard the news about the explosion, what impacted her after re-listening to her interview with John, and how she has seen the hand of God working in her life and the lives of others since that day.
I kept thinking back to when I was a very immature high schooler and I was floored by Emma’s maturity and her ability to handle such a tragic event as both a journalist and a bystander. Emma heads off to college this fall and is majoring in journalism, and I know that God is going to use this experience to help her continue to share others’ stories to touch more and more people!