Pupils hitting the airwaves at Clarksville Middle School


January 03, 2002|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IT'S LIGHTS, cameras and action every morning at Clarksville Middle School since CMSTV-25 began broadcasting last month. Staff members Kathy Glascock, Pat Greenwald and Mark Vinje began planning for the school's new television studio in the spring.

Funded with money received for continuous improvement in MSPAP scores, the studio cost about $9,000 to equip. School-based news and the day's weather are televised in each classroom, beginning at 8:25 a.m. each day.

Assistant Principal Scott Conroy said the studio and its equipment also can be used for classroom projects. "I could see students using it to make video presentations instead of posters and taping speeches and public service announcements," he said.

The station's first crew members are Rushi Talati (producer); Jeff Lasser (director); Josh Flyer (technical assistant); Njideka Aguna and Adam Friedman (camera technicians); Nick Smith (teleprompter); Santosh Sankar (graphics specialist); Jeff Xing and Lauren Salisbury (anchors); Alex Fast (sports and entertainment anchor); and Melanie Celano (weather anchor).

Pupils went through an application process to obtain their positions. "They had to fill out an application, get teacher recommendations and write an essay," Conroy said. "Then they interviewed with Ms. Greenwald and Ms. Glascock."

"We looked at their interest and their follow-through in the application process to choose who would be involved," Glascock said. The anchorwoman position had the most applicants, she added.

Greenwald said children must arrive at school 30 minutes early each school day to prepare that morning's broadcast. The show lasts about seven minutes. She said the crew will change about every six weeks to allow as many children as possible an opportunity to participate.

Although a few technical glitches occurred during the first few weeks of operation, Glascock and Greenwald said they were impressed with the crew's enthusiasm and dedication to the project.

"One student, Jeff Lasser, went online to get specifications for our equipment and taught himself how to use most of it," Glascock said.

`United We Stand'

Sarah Favinger and Brittany Radcliffe, sixth-graders at Clarksville Middle School, are selling a collection of poetry written by their classmates in response to the terrorism of Sept. 11. Titled United We Stand, the book includes the heartfelt emotions of pupils in Debbi Holihan's sixth-grade English class.

"The day after the tragedy, I knew I had to throw out my lesson plans," Holihan said. "There was no way I was going to be able to teach what I had planned to teach. I had written down some questions I had in my own mind that I wanted answers to, like, What are your fears, yesterday, last night and this morning? How has this tragedy affected you directly? What are your thoughts on America? What questions do you have for God?"

The class discussed the questions, took notes and came up with two pages of brainstorming ideas. "I had them go through their notes and circle phrases or words that seemed really powerful to them and write a poem," she said. "When the poems came in, I was bawling while I read them. I realized they had a real audience and a real appeal, and so we decided to publish them."

Pat Greenwald, gifted-and-talented resource teacher at the school, advised Sarah and Brittany to design a cover and helped them organize the poems. The girls are selling books for $2 to cover printing costs. They hope to have more copies printed to distribute to families of the victims.

"I was totally blown away by the writing," Greenwald said. "It came from the heart. It came within the first few days after the event, and it was just very revealing to read what they had written. The book shows a sophisticated, high level of writing for sixth-grade students. These kids were feeling deeper emotions than they have in their whole lives."

This is a poem written by Taylor Robb-McCord, titled "A Tragedy on Sept. 11":

You think it's a normal day, without a care in the world you

climb on the bus School is the same except for a couple rumors You've heard them before and don't pay attention to them Lunch starts and you are just

about to eat when the teachers direct your attention to the front they tell you school is dismissed

early A cheer breaks out of the crowd The teachers quiet us again They tell us that the World Trade Center and Pentagon were hit by three airplanes Shock and silence fall upon us School is dismissed and we go

home Glued to our TVs and radios to find out what happened Confusion, disbelief, being scared and the question of why? Rushes through our thoughts After a couple days people say

goodbye to their loved ones With tears in our eyes and gaps in

our hearts people's worlds are shattered like

the glass from the buildings Now we still wonder, Why us? Why now? When will it be


To purchase a copy of United We Stand: 410-313-7057.

Celebrate diversity

The River Hill Community Association will sponsor a multicultural event in celebration of the community's diversity from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Claret Hall. Information and displays about Pakistan, India, Korea, China and the Caribbean will be included.

Snacks, crafts and performances by Balloonman the Clown and Nana the Story Teller are scheduled. Admission is free.

Information: 410-531-1749.

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