MP middle school on the air

Messenger photos by Kristy Zurbrick

Seventh-grader Derek Richardson interviews Madison-Plains Board of Education President Dave Hunter.

Seventh-graders Jonathan Crowe and Kelly Croghan, anchors of Madison-Plains Middle School’s daily television broadcast, tape the introduction to their next show during the April 15 district board meeting at Mount Sterling Elementary.

Derek Richardson aimed the video camera at Don Swonger, then gave the silent go-ahead signal to Jonathan Crowe.

Swonger, a member of the Madison-Plains Board of Education, was the first board member to be interviewed April 15 by Madison-Plains Middle School’s television broadcast crew, which in addition to Richardson and Crowe includes Kelly Croghan.

The seventh-graders, all members of the enrichment program, produce and air a daily broadcast at the school on Channel One. The content usually revolves around news, weather, the lunch menu, a joke, and sports team updates. On April 16, the broadcast also included interviews with the school board’s five members—Swonger, Ken Morlock, Linda Blankenship, Michael Brandt and Dave Hunter. The taping took place during the board’s monthly meeting the night before, following a presentation by middle school Principal John Woodason.

The idea to start an in-school broadcast came from an e-tech conference Woodason attended. He saw the concept as a way for students to practice public speaking and learn about a new subject, public broadcasting.

The three-person crew got their start with Woodason’s personal video camera. Each show is taped in the principal’s office. The students write the copy, read it from a teleprompter, tape and edit the show, and air it all on their own.

Woodason said he was so impressed with the students’ work that he is looking into purchasing a new digital video camera and expanding the program to include more students. The core crew will train the newcomers.

As for the questions the crew posed to board members last week, Swonger said he became a board member to give children a foundation from which they can grow into responsible contributors to society.

When asked what he would like to accomplish this year, Ken Morlock mentioned completion of a the district’s five-year plan and enhanced transportation, among other goals.

To the question, “What do you like best about being a board member,” Linda Blankenship said she enjoys working with the administration, fellow board members and school staff to make Madison-Plains the “best school around.”

Michael Brandt’s response to “What has been your most challenging decision” was how best to use local and state funding.

Dave Hunter, the board president, was asked what his most memorable moment has been as a school board member. His reply: passage of the recent levy and seeing children learn in a good environment.

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