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Reporting school news in high-def, thanks to grant

Caledonia high school students create daily news for school community

Traditional morning announcements have taken a modern twist at Caledonia High School.

After a TV Pro Technology Update grant of $8,384 funded last year by the Caledonia Education Foundation, the school’s news production team now has access to camcorders, memory cards and readers, and the software to upgrade its TV production equipment to high-definition.

Currently, 70 students contribute to the CHS TV’s Youtube news channel released each morning. Students alternate jobs each week, taking turns trying out different positions in the television industry including meteorologist, anchor, sports commentator, videographer and more.

Bethany Velting cracks up behind the scenes

Adviser Mike Wilson has taught the school’s TV production program since 1997. “I think about 12 students took the first year,” he said. “We now have approximately 70 who take the news class, and around 50 who take the video production class each year.”

On the Air

Noah Peterson, who has has his own Youtube channel, PETE’S Videos, where he comments on cross-country and track competitions, said he values the skills he is learning every day.

“It’s not a traditional class; we’re learning skills by going into the studio and actually doing these things,” Noah said. “We get to explore different kinds of creative outlets, and everyone has their own purpose and a job that contributes to getting the news out.”

Sophomores, juniors and seniors who take the class use Adobe Premiere to create the daily newscast, after going high-def last year.

Donald Regan directs the camera on the news floor

“The videos look really good,” Noah said. “Which means that more people are going to watch.”

Being aware of what is going on is important for high school students, Noah said.

“I think everyone in school should be engaged in what is happening around Caledonia, and in the news in general,” he said. “That’s how we can be aware and educated, even outside of the classroom.”

TV Personality

For Morgan Klinker, the pressure of being on camera has been the most challenging part.

“In most of our classes, if you mess up on an assignment, only you and the teacher know about it. But when it happens here, it’s much higher profile,” she said. “You have to get over your nerves and be confident when you are an anchor. It’s about trying to make the least amount of mistakes without freaking yourself out.”

Rachel Waldmiller makes sure things are in order

Outside of the school viewership, families watching at home and former exchange students are the top audience, Wilson said.

“We’ve heard from exchange students who went back to their countries that they still watch at home,” he said. “It’s pretty cool to see the reach that this is having.”

Because of the spontaneous nature of the class, each group has new ideas for the direction the class should take.

“We’ve talked about some fun ideas for podcasts and other things like that,” Morgan said. “It’s fun because we can put our ideas into action.”

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Hannah Lentz
Hannah Lentz
A 2017 graduate of Grand Valley State University and a lifelong teacher’s kid, Hannah Lentz has worked as a journalist in and outside the Grand Rapids area for more than five years. After serving as editor-in-chief at the GVSU student newspaper, Hannah interned at the Leelanau Enterprise where she learned a lot about community journalism. In addition to her work for School News Network, Hannah has worked as a freelance blogger in the furniture industry, focusing on design trends, and as a social media manager for World Medical Relief in Detroit.

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