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East Students Take on Newsworthy Ventures

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East School has transformed its traditional morning announcements into a new and exciting live daily newscast. The Neptune News, a broadcast club that came to fruition through the collaborative efforts of teacher Edward Courtney, Principal Kathleen Connolly, Assistant Principal Cristine Zawatson and students, was designed as an opportunity to showcase the talents and innovation at East while keeping the school community well-informed.

The building’s morning announcements were previously made over the PA system, and the COVID-19 pandemic limited the ability to involve students. The new club provides many ways for fourth and fifth graders to participate on- and off-screen as they keep peers and staff apprised of each day’s events, news and more. Thanks to a grant that Mr. Courtney secured from Jovia as well as Scholastic Dollars, East was able to purchase equipment for the newscast.

Mr. Courtney’s fourth grade class is piloting the program, with plans for students to share their skills and expand it to the entire grade in the next school year. The group began creating scripts and brainstorming ideas in March and debuted its first broadcast on April 13. Segments feature morning greetings, the Pledge of Allegiance, lunch details, weather reports, birthday announcements, motivational messages and closing remarks.

Students have a variety of roles to choose from and are currently honing their skills as anchors, camera operators, teleprompters and directors. The majority of their recording work takes place in a small green screen studio that was assembled in the hallway outside Mr. Courtney’s classroom. The club hopes to eventually introduce special segments, daily interviews, book reviews and cross curricular activities, with off-site reporters stationed in different locations around the building.

“As we build confidence and comfortability in front of and behind the camera, our segments will expand and become more complex,” Mr. Courtney said. “My students are having a great time practicing and building confidence each day!”