The broadcasting studio at Perales Elementary School in Edgewood ISD may resemble a typical newsroom in many ways, with its bustling atmosphere, camera equipment, bright lights, backdrops, and dedicated journalists. However, there’s a distinctive feature that sets it apart – the colorful backpacks and the youthful energy of the team.
In this unique newsroom, the anchors don’t sip on coffee; they might be enjoying a carton of chocolate milk. Their motivation doesn’t come from caffeine, but rather from the occasional sugar rush. Who are these reporters, editors, and producers? They’re not seasoned newsroom professionals or recent college graduates; they’re fifth-graders.
“I wanted to be a part of this because I felt like I could do so much to help the school,” said 10-year-old Mark Alvarez. “It’s not just talking on the speakers, which is boring… When you do it on video, it’s more exciting.”
“Roadrunner News” was launched just last month at the Edgewood Independent School District campus. It’s a project driven by a group of enthusiastic 10-year-olds who meet after school on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays to rehearse and gather every day before the school bell rings to record their show.
The videos produced by this young team are broadcasted in every classroom and uploaded to the club’s YouTube channel. Alvarez, who seems like a tech-savvy wizard, enjoys running microphone tests on a digital mixer and designing the amusing graphics that grace the morning broadcast. He’s been passionate about technology since the fourth grade and prefers working behind the camera. However, with the required rotations, he occasionally takes the spotlight on screen, where he delivers engaging content, answering important questions like, “Hey Sabrea, can you tell us what’s for lunch today?” For elementary students, lunch is a serious matter, and Alvarez understands the significance. “People could have allergies, and they could die if they don’t know,” he noted.
The anchors have a wide range of responsibilities, including delivering morning announcements, recognizing teachers, reporting on sporting events, providing weather forecasts, and celebrating birthdays, all to ensure their classmates start their day informed and engaged.
The brain behind this initiative is fifth-grade teacher Israel Lopez, who not only created the club but also provides guidance alongside another Makerspace teacher, Gilberto Rodriguez. In the beginning, Lopez wrote most of the scripts, but now the students have gained the confidence and skills to create their content. As weeks go by, they become more self-reliant in managing the studio. By midyear, the plan is to invite fourth- and third-graders to join the team, extending the leadership skills they are learning to younger peers.
Lopez emphasized the transformative aspect of the program, observing how students evolve and grow in this unique environment. He said, “The other teachers love the broadcast because they get to see their students ‘become another person’ and watch some of the quietest kids thrive in a different environment.”
For these young broadcasters, being in front of the camera is not just about delivering news; it’s an opportunity to explore different personas. As 10-year-old Isabella Resurez puts it, “I pretend to be someone else in front of the camera.” She enjoys showcasing her talents as a weatherwoman.
For some students, this club is more than just an extracurricular activity; it’s a glimpse into a potential future career. Lorenzo Gutierrez, age 10, dreams of becoming a news anchor, and this experience fuels that aspiration. On the other hand, Alvarez, while enjoying his role, also contemplates other career paths, stating, “I’m thinking about becoming a truck driver, but this is good to know as well.”
Source: Edgewood ISD, Express News
By: Kamryn Lewis, Intern, USA