Pupil-run TV news program starts the school day


February 25, 2000|By Donna Abel | Donna Abel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THANKS TO community support and the dedication of parent volunteers, pupils at Mount Airy Middle School begin each school day with a six-minute morning news program called "Mount Airy Live."

Each morning since school reopened after the winter holiday break, televisions in each homeroom have been tuned to Channel 4 for the pupil-run broadcast originating in the school's media center.

Pupils read the news, and help directors and videographers plan and present the daily newscasts. The budding broadcast journalists are advised by Frank Tippet, Extended Enrichment teacher.

"Mr. Tippet stands to the side and watches over everything," said Principal Virginia Ashmore.

According to Ashmore, "Mount Airy Live" features school-based news, major headlines of the day and sports highlights, weather, entertainment notes and news almanac.

"Students are thinking about including special guests and teacher interviews in future programs," Ashmore said.

"Eighth-graders in the Extended Enrichment Program at Mount Airy Middle School have served as news team members since January, but participation will expand to include sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders through auditions," she said.

The first broadcast of "Mount Airy Live" was the culmination of two years of planning and community support that raised about $10,000 for equipment.

Former Mount Airy Middle School Parent Teacher Student Organization President Robin Radoci suggested that the school have the news program and that parent volunteer Larry VanSant lead the fund-raising effort.

They implemented a business partnership between the school and the community to fund the project.

Media Specialist Tim Whitney and parent Joe Signorino identified equipment needs.

The fund-raising effort was successful because of the effort shown by local sponsors: Farmers and Mechanics National Bank, Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Moran, Mount Airy Rotary Club, Union National Bank, Frederick County National Bank, VanSant Plumbing and Heating, and J&P Pizza of Mount Airy.

Brackets were installed in the summer, and televisions were purchased in the fall. Pupils established a base for "Mount Airy Live" in a room of the media center suite and created sets for the news segments.

Said Ashmore, "They've got the room set up like a studio."

A business partnership continues to raise money for the project. Frank Illiano of J&P Pizza and Mount Airy Middle School are sponsoring a fund-raiser involving the school's sale of $10 coupons that can be redeemed for large pizzas at the Mount Airy restaurant.

Although pupils are learning how to be a news team and phase one of the equipment purchase is completed, the school is planning for future production resources.

"We would like editing equipment," said Ashmore.

Softball players wanted

Woodbine/Mount Airy Men's Softball League and the Woodbine Women's Softball League are looking for teams and individuals. Games will be played at Saltbox Ball Park on Gillis Falls Road in Woodbine.

Information: 410-795-3332 by Wednesday.

Donna Abel's Southwest Neighbors column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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