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Local podcast features graduates

A local podcast with a national audience recently hosted three Lakeland High School graduates to discuss their thoughts on being quarantined seniors.

Keon Wiggins-Saunders, Nailah Gatling and Ryan Artis recently graduated from Lakeland as part of the historic class of 2020. They came on the podcast on July 2 to talk about their experiences as the first guests in Wait a Gam Minute’s new studio.

“Senior year of high school is the year that memories are made,” said Trivelle Gambrell, creator and director of the podcast. “You go into the year with this picture in your head, and for this class, it did not happen.”

“We want to show that there are positive and respectful youth out there,” said Gambrell about why they wanted to do this podcast. “These youth are our future, and they have a good head on their shoulders.”

Wait a Gam Minute Podcast is a Suffolk-based podcast with a following around the United States with up to 1,6000 views on their videos. The cast consists of three Suffolk natives — Yolanda Davis, Shante Hall and Rasheedah Rodgers. The podcast premieres every Thursday at 7 p.m.

“Our show is girl talk,” said Gambrell. “We talk about finances, relationships, current events, or what people don’t want to talk about.”

All three of these graduates have plans to go to college, and Artis and Wiggins-Saunders graduated with their associate degrees as well as their high school diplomas this spring. The students were also involved at their school, as Gatling was the 2020 homecoming queen for Lakeland and Artis was class vice president.

They talked about the pandemic and how it has affected them.

“I feel like everything happens for a reason,” said Wiggins-Saunders. “A lot of positive things have come out of this pandemic. Small businesses have popped up, and people have been stuck at home to have the chance to educate themselves on some things. We needed this time for us to stop and to appreciate things.”

The graduates said they missed not being able to celebrate milestones like prom and graduation in the traditional ways.

“I feel like everyone else had a chance to have a graduation, and so I feel like we needed a chance to do it,” said Gatling. “It’s just crazy that we couldn’t walk across the stage. I was pretty down about it.”

As the podcast goes on Facebook Live, viewers commented their questions, and the graduates didn’t hold back on their answers. One of the was about the Black Lives Matter movement.

With Artis’ father being a police officer, he brought a unique perspective to the discussion.

“People need to realize that all police officers are not the same, and some of them have hearts, and some police officers have family,” said Artis. “Police officers are still human. They have feelings; they have emotions; they’re still people. The only thing that makes them different from us is that they have a gun and a police vest.”

Gatling brought a different perspective to the table. She said current events make her nervous as she feels pressure from the ongoing racial tension.

Much more was discussed on the podcast and can be viewed on the Facebook page at https://tinyurl.com/WAGMP.