East’s Eagle Eye Report delivers homeroom announcements with 21st century flair

East’s Eagle Eye Report delivers homeroom announcements with 21st century flair
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East High’s Morning Anouncement Crew 2014; Alex Dejesus (front), Austin Goodenough, Triston Dunlap, Zach Bansbach & Ryan Steimer

• April 30, 2014

We all experience or remember them. The scratchy intercoms, the tinny monotonic voices, the barely audible Pledge of Allegiance, the sometimes still sleepy students (and teachers) straining to hear field trip departure times.

Everywhere except at East.

In this its second year, East’s Eagle Eye Report (coached by English teacher James Fitta) delivers the day’s happening with a twenty first century flair. No monotones here. Instead a team of energetic students appear on the video board in every classroom. Using a dazzling array of visual and animation effects, the Eye takes us throughout the school and beyond – each announcement its own performance piece.  Actually, judge for yourself:

EastHighRCSD/videos

On the day I was East, I spoke with several members of the news team.  Not only was I impressed by their commitment and enthusiasm, but also by the real life and possible work skills they were gaining.  Alex Dejesus talked about feeling more relaxed around people and the camera.  Most importantly, she liked “knowing that we did a good job at the end of the day.” Through the program, Zach Bansbach (also a pitcher on the baseball team) has learned how to “ad lib on the spot, become a very good speaker, and be confident on camera and keep moving through mishaps.” Triston Dunlap (also a catcher on the baseball team), whose family in NYC watches the Report on Youtube, has improved his public speaking, journalistic, and organizational skills.

Moreover, all hope to pursue a media career.  Zach would like to attend the Democrat and Chronicle and the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Taub Multimedia Journalism Academy. Alex—brave soul—would love to be a reporter for a newspaper. Triston can see himself as a professional News Anchor and from there perhaps a politician– the next Rich Funke?

Undoubtedly, key master minds behind the Eagle Eye are “Soul Man” Austin Goodenough and the show’s co-producer, Nick Kelly AKA the “30 Second Guy.” At every taping, Austin is behind the scenes, sometimes with Nick, in the studio equipped with a green screen, special stage lights, Panasonic HDD camera with built in microphone, an iMac computer with iMovie, and video editing software included with the iMac system. Austin is responsible for set-up, editing, special effects, and chooses a comical video that ends every show in unique fashion. Spurred on by his rich experience on the crew, Austin envisions a career in the field of communications.

In addition, there is one thing Austin wants you to know. He was born with a high-functioning form of autism. However, this does not affect him in any way from pursuing his goals, and encourages him to do what’s right for his fellow students. Austin does the normal morning announcements with his friends as well as doing the LED marquees inside & outside of the building. He also takes part in an after-school game club with not just general education students, but some of the autistic students as well.

Finally, the Report does not shy away from controversy.  As we know, East will be a quite different school next year. Earlier this month, the team devoted part of one show to interviewing students asking, “What should change about East? What should not change?” For their answers, watch?v=1oRMsUWv-7o

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About The Author

dkramer3@naz.edu

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY and Lake Affect Magazine.  My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

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