NPR Awards Honorable Mention to Oakridge Student in National Podcast Challenge

NPR Awards Honorable Mention to Oakridge Student in National Podcast Challenge

For the second time in as many years, National Public Radio (NPR) has recognized a student at The Oakridge School in its Student Podcast Challenge. Junior Kristina Miller earned an Honorable Mention for her entry, “Athletes vs. Artists.”


According to the NPR website, there were more than 2,400 entrants (grades 5-12), from 45 states and the District of Columbia. Of that number, only 64 high school students received the Honorable Mention distinction. “The creativity, innovation, and emotion students were able to pack into eight minutes impressed us,” NPR’s Eda Uzunlar wrote.

Kristina’s podcast presents both sides of a timeless high school dilemma, which asks whether an individual should try to pursue both arts and athletics or focus one’s efforts on one pursuit over the other. Kristina included expert opinions from an educator and professional instrumentalist with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and Dexter Coakley, an Oakridge Coach and three-time Pro Bowler (1991, 2001, and 2003) with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. She also incorporated personal anecdotes and statistics from the Center for American Progress. Her conclusion? SPOILER ALERT: You can have your cake and eat it, too!


“A diverse skillset allows you to connect with people from different backgrounds,” said Kristina, a varsity cheerleader, volleyball player, and choir member whose role as the Fairy Godmother in Oakridge’s spring production of Cinderella earned her a 2022 Betty Lynn Buckley Award for Best Female Supporting Actor in a Musical. “It [diverse skillset] also creates a diverse resume, and broadens your horizons, as well as job opportunities. That’s why it’s one of the most significant things colleges look for, say experts.”

Fun fact: Kristina’s friend, fellow artist and athlete, and Oakridge junior Zahn Coakley composed the music for the podcast. Upper School History Teacher, Mr. Michael Millians, served as an advisor on the project. Listen to Athletes vs. Artists here.


Eshan Singhal earned a 2020 Honorable Mention from NPR during his freshman year after exploring the world of reusable rockets. For the podcast, he interviewed an Oakridge physics teacher and classmates. He also composed and performed the accompanying background music. Listen to Eshan’s podcast here.

Students in college and those in grades 5-12 were eligible to participate in the 2022 challenge. View the full list of those who received an Honorable Mention here. Listen to NPR’s Dallas-Fort Worth station, KERA, online at or at 90.1 FM.

The Betty Lynn Buckley Awards promote and celebrate excellence in high school musical theatre. They are named for actress Betty Buckley, a Fort Worth native, Tony® Award-winning Best Actress, and alumna of the Fort Worth Independent School District and Casa Mañana, where the awards are presented. 

  • Athletes
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
  • Honorable Mention
  • KERA
  • NFL
  • NPR
  • National Public Radio
  • artists
  • arts