Ory students becoming masters of the airwaves

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 31, 2004

By SUE ELLEN ROSS – Staff Reporter

LAPLACE- It’s not every elementary school that houses its own professional television studio. Add dedicated students and a skilled instructor, and you have the recipe for broadcast success at John L. Ory Magnet School.

WJLO has been in existence for six years, the product of an educational grant.

For the past four years, teacher Randy Krieger has overseen the daily broadcast that transmits from the studio to television sets housed in each of the school’s classrooms.

“We wanted to use the visual aspect of communication. Kids love to watch television,” he said.

The morning program airs four times a week. It begins at 8:40 each morning with the pledge of allegiance and the national anthem.

It is followed by school news and a presentation by the television anchor or an invited guest.

The broadcast will last anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the news content. It ends with the display of the day’s lunch menu.

Krieger also teaches a television production class during the day. Various students attend this rotating class, learning the basics of taking a story from inception to production.

Some of those steps are developing story boards, making videos and working with graphics.

Although the television studio is an entity within itself, scripts for the TV broadcast come from these classes.

Youngsters from the general student population serve as anchors on the show and are recommended by their teachers. Anchors are rotated about every 3-4 weeks, according to Krieger.

There is quite a bit going on behind the television cameras, but Krieger and his current student team have smoothly met the demands of putting together a well-run show.

There are nine students, who have also been recommended by their teachers, on the WJLO permanent staff this year.

They don’t attend a special class, but come to school early each morning to prepare for the day’s broadcast. The time slot of 8-8:30 a.m. is set aside for this purpose.

The team also meets at other times, as everyone’s schedule allows. This commitment is all on their own time, said Krieger.

He added that he feels part of his job is to motivate the students to independence, impressing upon them that they need to be self-reliant and to develop confidence in themselves.

And they have.

Each staff member is training another recommended student, so you will find the trainees working alongside the ‘seasoned’ staff

Krieger said the students may not realize how much they already rely on themselves. When they arrive in the morning, they automatically take charge, checking the equipment in the control room and studio.

Principal Terry Noel believes students are benefitting from the television production program in many ways. “This is a wonderful opportunity to develop technical skills,” she said. “It is also a creative way to help students make sense of what they are learning.”

They have also learned how to troubleshoot, solve problems and develop interpersonal communications, according to Krieger.

The faces behind the television broadcasts are: Reyana Langston, producer; Tia Casadaban and Melissa Piper, floor directors; Angell Labat and Patricia Philip, camera persons; Josh Cook, video switcher; Devonnica Bartholomew, audio mixer; Yuki Monestere and Taylor Atkinson, graphics.

Regarding the benefits Krieger receives, he said, “Invert whatever I said I wanted to teach the students. That’s my benefit.”

The success of his staff is very important to him. “Hopefully, they will use the things they have leaned as they accept bigger challenges,” he added.

“If they continue to strive for high goals, combined with a strong support system, there’s no limit to what they can achieve.”