Anchors aweigh: 'Morning news' program debuts at BurnsideMike Pagel hustles out of Burnside Elementary's multi-use room at 8:45 a.m. with a video camera in hand. Pagel is one of two Burnside teachers behind a daily news program that started last week at the school.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
Mike Pagel hustles out of Burnside Elementary's multi-use room at 8:45 a.m. with a video camera in hand.
The teacher is headed to his fourth-grade classroom where he plugs the camera into a laptop computer. Pagel will burn a DVD with just minutes to spare before every classroom at the school tunes in to watch it.
Such is life in the news business.
Pagel is one of two Burnside teachers behind a daily news program that started last week at the school.
During two-week stints, a pair of fifth-graders anchors delivers the day's news at the school - the lunch menu, the weather, a reminder to wear hats and gloves.
When their time is up, they pass the microphone to another duo, until the school has exhausted all 18 fifth-graders who have signed up for anchor duties.
So far it's been an exciting, but nerve-wracking, experience for the program's inaugural anchors.
"It's sort of scary sometimes - but not all," said Calli Hughes, who has been joined by fellow fifth-grader Olivia Clemens.
The show helps build a sense of community at the school, said Burnside Principal Sheila Beckner. She said the sheer distances between wings at the 600-student school can be fragmenting.
"When I first started here, that was the biggest challenge for me," Beckner said.
A common program in every classroom at the exact same time bridges some of those gaps, she said.
The program is the brainchild of Pagel and third-grade teacher Neil Lahammer, both of whom worked with similar news-style programs at other schools. The concept has been in place for a few years now, but the school's technology needed to catch up.
They needed to upgrade the school's video camera and room-to-room wiring, in addition to ensuring each room had a television.
And then, finally, the money. A $445 grant got the program on its feet this year.
"That was kind of a pivotal point," Beckner said.
The basics of the show are set - camera, script, talent - but the teachers say there's more to come.
The white brick backdrop - currently adorned only by weather props - will soon be dressed up with student-created artwork, Lahammer said.
"There's quite a ways to go," he said.