Rupley Broadcasting Center sets positive tone for every school day
At 8:30 sharp, Debbie Kandefer opens the door to her studio to welcome the line of students that has assembled in the hallway. Like every other morning, it is time to prepare not just her class, but every Rupley student and staff member for another day.
The room houses the Rupley Broadcasting Center (RBC), a staple of the school for the last 25 years. It is where her students deliver the morning announcements, but this goes beyond simply speaking into a microphone over a P.A. speaker. This is their first taste of being part of an actual news team.
“A typical broadcast crew consists of 11 students from fourth and fifth grade,” Kandefer said. “There is a new crew chosen every 6-8 weeks so that more students have the opportunity, and past or present students can also try out new positions in the RBC if they apply again.”
There are nearly a dozen positions a student can hold, including anchor, reporter, photographer, audio mixer, video editor, and more. Each role is vital, because they factor into making a show look clean. That means studio shots have to be correct, music and video play at the right time, and audio levels can be heard.
Students in reporting roles also go around the school to interview fellow Raccoons about various topics, then edit those videos into feature pieces for future broadcasts. There is also a list of students who are scheduled to be flag holders for the Pledge of Allegiance so more can participate in the show. All the while, crew members are helping those in charge of cueing up videos by counting them down and keeping on time.
“We work as a team, and each crew member has an integral part in making the broadcast come to life,” said Kandefer. “I’ve had the chance to work with many students over the years, and it’s rewarding to watch them thrive and grow in our tight-knit little crew.”
The crew shares a bond because they enjoy the work, and because the work requires them to stay sharp first thing in the morning. That bond grows from class to class, year to year, as new students are trained in the same roles.
“My job is great, because I have to go get the flag holders, so I get to greet everyone with a smile. I like being in the studio, because everyone is so kind,” said Sophia, a crew member.
The goal of the club is to set a positive tone for the day, and students continue to be drawn to the concept each year. Kandefer, who has led the club for over two decades, asks her crew to be enthusiastic, confident, and cooperative, and the rest will take care of itself.
The reviews from her students say the approach works.
“It’s a fun time and I get to be with my friends,” said Yasmin, an anchor on the show. “I definitely get nervous sometimes, but it feels good. I am happy to be a part of this crew.”
The group also dazzled at the CCSD59 Board of Education meeting on February 14, as they presented a video of a day in the life of a crew member and answered questions from board members about their work.
You can view that presentation below.