Video system installed in public schools

Special to Atmore News

For students in Escambia County schools, the morning announcements just got a lot more interesting.
That’s because each school now has its own “news anchors” to handle the task.
Every county school recently installed StreamVuEd, a video-on-demand system that allows recording and playback of everything from morning announcements to school activities and classes. Recordings can then be played back in each classroom at a time convenient to the teacher. And to kick things off, students are getting in front of the camera to let their classmates know what’s on the agenda for the day.
At Pollard-McCall Junior High, librarian and media specialist Sarah Anne Fountain has become a television producer, leading a group of students each day through the process of writing, directing and recording the morning announcements. Part of her library has become a studio, complete with lights, a camera, and a recording system. She says the project has already become very popular, as some students can’t wait to get to the library to work on the project.
“They like to put together information to get out to their peers,” she said. “They really like the creative part, the ones who work on the computer on the producing aspect of the program. It’s really neat to see their own creative ideas come to life.”
The morning announcement includes the menu in the cafeteria, so the students look for graphics that will match and make things visual.
“When they see it on the screen they really feel accomplished.” Fountain adds that kids have not been seen in the office as much, as television provides an outlet as something they might not normally get to do.
Students are taking turns doing different tasks as they learn what goes into a newscast. Some are a bit “camera shy” and prefer to work behind the scenes as camera operators or directors. Those who are interested in being “on air” get the chance to anchor the announcements.
Ryan Washington, who has been “anchoring” the morning announcements and is learning how to do the weather forecast in front of a green screen, thinks he might have found his calling. “I’ve learned you have to be confident, on and off camera. I think it will be a good career in the future.”
His “co-anchor” Star McBride, is also considering the future after being introduced to the new system. “I’ve actually thought about doing it when I get older and go to college.”
So several years in the future, the people who bring you the news on local and network television may have gotten their start in an Escambia County school building.

Brewton resident Randy Tatano is a veteran TV news reporter and network producer, and is currently a novelist and freelance writer for the Escambia County School System.