Staser records an upcoming episode for his podcast.
Staser records an upcoming episode for his podcast.
Nicholas Sadelski

Staser entertains, educates with social studies podcast

Senior Drew Staser has a passion for all things history related. In hopes of developing a deeper understanding of social studies content and helping his peers learn new material, Staser created a podcast titled “APUSH For Understanding.”
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Students watch Stasers podcast to prepare for upcoming quizzes and tests.

Senior Drew Staser breaks up the silence of his basement with a charismatic lesson. He speaks and gestures as if in front of a classroom full of students; however, the room is empty.

The only listener is his phone next to him perched on the arm of the couch. With this set up, Staser talks about the thing he loves most– social studies.

Though none were listening in that moment of recording, many have tuned in to his podcast “APUSH for Understanding.” This is his podcast covering the contents of textbooks read during advanced social studies courses.

The creation of this podcast is the perfect medium for someone who can’t stop talking about what they adore.

Students watch Staser’s podcast to prepare for upcoming quizzes and tests. (Maya Homberg)

On Dec. 21, 2021 Staser uploaded the first episode of his podcast “APUSH for Understanding” for AP U.S History and later continued the series into AP European History and AP U.S Government and Politics.

“It was sophomore year with AP U.S History, and I figured that if I explained the concepts of the chapters, I would both understand them better for the AP test and would help my peers. I’ve always been interested in helping people understand things, teaching things and helping break down complicated subjects. I thought that if I could play a small role in that, I could make the world a bit better,” Staser said.

Staser believes the textbooks that generally teach a class fail to convey the level of importance social studies has on the lives of its readers.

“I think sometimes the textbook does a really bad job of capturing that interest. History, politics and geography are supposed to be interesting, and impact you in your everyday life. Sometimes the textbook has a way of describing that makes it seem like it was just something that happened 500 years ago while it impacts the very foundation of our institutions,” Staser said.

The podcast is a reflection of his passions with him having strong ideas on social studies’ role in the shaping of modern society.

“For me, social studies is a solution. Whether its history or politics it’s all about making the world a better place. In history humanity has faced a great many difficulties and has come back from them a lot smarter and it’s important to learn from them, while politics creates society-altering legislature,” Staser said.

All of Stasers podcast episodes are published on Spotify.

Along with taking advanced social studies courses, Staser also participates in clubs such as politics club and Model United Nations discussing current U.S and world affairs. Senior Ethan Novak has gotten to know Staser through shared participation in the clubs.

“Drew is probably the most into politics in this school, and it seems he is very passionate about social studies and history, so I enjoy listening to someone who enjoys the material talk about the material,” Novak said.

Social studies teacher Tracy Culcasi first met Staser his freshman year online for politics club, which she sponsors, and later had him in class for AP U.S History.

“Drew is very inquisitive, he is very interested in history, he participates a lot and is a good leader in discussion. So he was the person kids would say ‘wait what is Drew saying?’ because he was interested in what we were doing,” Culcasi said.

All of Staser’s podcast episodes are published on Spotify. (Nicholas Sadelski)

Staser noted that viewership fluctuates based on the topic he is discussing.

“Some episodes have zero views, which is really fun, I’d say on average most videos get 5-10 views, it varies a lot. The most watched one with 32 views is ‘Jacksonian Review;’ it’s one of the harder units,” Staser said.

Like the analytics suggest, junior Zevi Davis, a listener to the podcast and friend of Staser, would listen to “APUSH for Understanding,” for specific information.

“When I was confused on certain chapters, I would listen to it to help me. We would have these quizzes where you had to know one randomly picked word from the chapter. Drew went over each chapter, and he would explain each buzzword and write down notes and study off that before every quiz,” Davis said.

Along with helping himself and his peers study for class, the podcast also improved the social skills of its creator.

“It’s helped with my public speaking, virtual communication is very different to interpersonal communication. It has taught me how to engage with people and explain complex issues and work on cadence,” Staser said.

Davis elaborated why he chooses a podcast rather than going through the assigned textbook the school has given.

[The podcast] is definitely more engaging than reading from a book because it feels like a one on one conversation. Even if it’s one-sided because it feels like someone is talking to me, and I know Drew so it sounds like a friend is talking to me about something I’m confused with,”

— Davis

Culcasi predicts where Staser’s passions will take him.

“I could see him as someone who advocates for other people, someone that uses his education to advocate for people who can’t advocate for themselves, being a voice for them. I also see him being someone in politics, not necessarily as a politician, but as an advisor because he has a good sense of the bigger picture and pushes policy along,” Culcasi said.

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About the Contributors
Nicholas Sadelski
Nicholas Sadelski, Opinions Editor
Senior Nicholas Sadelski is an Opinions Editor for his first year on the Blueprint staff. Additionally, Sadelski is on the varsity cross country and track team, part of the a capella and madrigal choirs, a member of National Honors Society, an honor roll student, and participates in various clubs including Student Council, Athletes Committed to Excellence, politics club and Model UN. Outside the classroom Sadelski can be found reading, trying to better his understanding of various topics that interest him, running around the neighborhood, frisbee golfing and hanging out with friends. While on the Blueprint, Sadelski hopes to shed light on unique stories not yet told and give his thoughts on happenings in and outside DGS. He intends to continue his journalism and writing career into college with the belief that Blueprint will better hone his skills.
Maya Homberg
Maya Homberg, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Maya Homberg is an Editor-in-Chief, and this is her second year on the Blueprint staff. Homberg is an honor roll student and has been swimming for over 10 years. At DGS, she is the president of NHS and also takes part in ACE, Spanish NHS, Earth Action Club and Key Club. Homberg joined journalism club during her sophomore year and has always shown a passion for reading and writing. She placed third at 2023 IHSA State in copy editing and was also selected as one of 13 Illinois students to be on the 2023 IJEA All-State Team. On top of this, Homberg has won a Best of Sno and multiple writing competitions, including IJEA Best Sports Feature Story. In her free time, Homberg enjoys hanging out with friends, baking and traveling. She loves visiting other countries but dreams of seeing all fifty states. Homberg is looking forward to sharing her opinions and entertaining others through her writing.

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