Spartans Launch “Ring the Bell” Podcast to Highlight Little Known Stories on The Hill

St. Stephen’s Upper School students have added the “Ring the Bell” podcast to its storytelling portfolio as an extension of its longtime student-run newspaper called The Bell. The now digital newspaper showcases student reporting and writing. The podcast is a passion project for producer and guest booker Rebecca Cole ’25. She says she has always wanted to create one and then one day, St. Stephen’s Film and Theatre instructor Mike Dolan approached her, encouraging her to move forward with the idea.

"I thought 'wow' now I have support in this–perfect timing," said Cole.

The idea further evolved after Cole and several other students interested in media attended a series of summer workshops at the University of Texas at Austin. The group exchanged ideas with other students about how to modernize school newspapers, and how to successfully launch a podcast. It gave Cole the confidence she needed to launch the podcast idea.

When Cole returned to campus in the fall of 2023, she connected with classmate Emmett Brewer ’25 and Jenneken “DVK” Van Keppel, English instructor and The Bell newspaper faculty sponsor. 

“It’s the way journalism is going, and [podcasts are] what people are really interested in listening to,” said DVK. “So I just appreciate these guys really taking the ball and running with it per Mr. Dolan’s suggestion.”

Cole manages show topics and guests and Brewer manages all technical aspects including proper equipment, audio engineering and editing. Together, and with Dolan’s assistance, the pair released their first episode this spring which features a fun and insightful Q&A with Dolan. This episode’s hosts Gabby Lassalle ’25 and Nicholas Chen ’24 talk to Dolan about his career as a Broadway actor, his film roles and why he chose to relocate to Austin from the Big Apple.

“I was really happy to get people together and thought it was a really interesting experience–allowing for experimentation and allowing us to try new things, and maybe not do our very best for the first time,” said Cole.

Their second episode is in the cue and features an interview with St. Stephen’s Director of Outdoor Education Charlton Perry. The release date is pending as students are wrapping up class projects and tackling finals. Cole and Brewer hope the podcast and its audience will grow over time, and believe it could take on various styles in the future. 

“We want to start featuring more students, and even aspects of campus like, or have a discussion on something in the media that people are talking about,” said Cole. “But we wanted to start with profiles, because interviews are something we started in print last year and we really wanted to showcase the talent and stories of people at St. Stephen's, and especially people who we find a bit underrated.”

Students will take a summer hiatus and plan to restart in the fall. Be sure to click here to listen to “Ring the Bell” and spread the word to your friends.
Address: 6500 St. Stephen's Dr., Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 327-1213