Welcome to KDGT: Students at Dudley Elementary go live for daily broadcast show
April 7, 2012 at midnight
Updated April 6, 2012 at 11:07 p.m.
It was 7:30 a.m., and while plenty of yawning faces straggled into Dudley Magnet Elementary School, the Dudley news crew was busy getting ready for prime time.
With all the energy of a live show looming, the fifth-graders adjusted volume levels, secured camera angles and scribbled last-minute notes on scripts.
By 7:45 a.m., Dudley's morning broadcast show was on-air.
"Good morning. Welcome to KDGT. My name is Charis Wirtley," the anchor bellowed through TV circuits across the campus.
"And my name is Darby Voss," her co-anchor countered with confidence.
Members of the broadcast club are practically pros now, having spent the year learning the ropes of broadcast television. Each day, the crew broadcasts morning announcements, complete with a weather segment, public service announcements created by the students and a break-away highlighting the students of the day.
Though Charis and Darby were in front of the camera today, each of the club's 16 members have had a hand in the whole process - audio and video mixing, camera handling, producer duties like gathering guests, anchoring and serving as a back-up.
Teamwork, they quickly learned, is the only way to create a smooth-running operation.
"Especially if you're not getting along," Darby, 11, said. "It's hard to work together as anchors because you have to have the same rhythm."
Beyond the technical talents, Dudley's news crew has stacked up their share of real-world skills thanks to the broadcast club.
They've learned problem solving on the fly, how to negotiate with peers and - most noticeably - how to speak in public.
"To stand up in front of a camera and deliver, that's scary for some kids," one of their sponsors, Mary Silkey, said. "Facing fears - that's courageous."
Though a lot of the fifth-graders admitted to being nervous the first time their faces were broadcast to some 600 people on campus, they now share old war stories without a hint of shyness.
"Yesterday, I went so fast, I said, 'Good morking,'" Bailee Burris, 10, said to nods and laughter.
They joke about the inevitable goof-ups, but mostly they're a proud and encouraging team - a family, they said - taking their stab at representing the more than a decade-old Dudley broadcast show.
For some, it's an opportunity they've been looking forward to since they were Dudley undergrads, when they watched the big kids and dreamed of their own fifth-grade stardom.
"Now a lot of people walking down the hallway, they say, 'I saw you on TV, you're so cool,'" Bailee said through a smile fit for the big screen.