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Wildcat TV is more than 'easy A'
Students Shawn Balcomb, left, Hannah Sheffield and Tannah Balke go over lines for a Wildcat TV show during a recent Film II class at Richmond Hill High School. - photo by Photo by Hallie D. Martin

Richmond Hill High School students who thought that Erin Turner’s production class Film II would be an easy “A” have been proved wrong.
Students in that class produce Wildcat TV – WCTV for short – that airs every other Friday. They are responsible for coming up with ideas for segments, and reporting, shooting and editing those stories for broadcast, Turner said.
“They have a project, they have a goal and they have to budget their time on their own,” she said.
Last week, 15 students worked Feb. 14 for the Friday show. Patrick MaGee, a senior, was concentrating on editing on his laptop his segment about a student rock band.
Seniors Shawn Balcomb and Tannah Balke rehearsed anchoring the show behind a white table in the center of the classroom while Hannah Sheffield, also a senior, helped record the practice round.
Cynthia Arroyo was at a computer talking back and forth with Turner and another student, perfecting her dialogue for a segment on school violence.  
 The WCTV shows are broadcast every other Friday during a 20-minute period set aside in the second block class. Richmond Hill High School teachers can access the show on a shared computer the drive, Turner said. The show is also available on the Bryan County News website.
This semester, Turner tried something new. Instead of having students produce segments, Balcomb and Balke were chosen to anchor the show to make it flow. 
The segments include “Patrick Meets World” with MaGee. He interviews lesser-known students in the school, but an earlier broadcast focused on Dylan Moore, the Richmond Hill 9-year-old battling leukemia.
Chase Feuse hosts “Wildcat Nation,” which focuses on school sports, while Sheffield has “Keeping up with Hannah,” an around-the-town and pop culture segment. One of her latest stories was about where to go in Richmond Hill for Valentine’s Day treats.  
There’s also Arroyo’s “Cynthia’s Declassified School Survival Guide,” an academic-related segment. Besides her story about school violence, she’s also done stories about the high school’s Teacher of the Year.
And Anthony Saavedra produces “Secret Life of…,” a   behind-the-scene look at elements of the school.
WCTV also includes a “Question of the Week” segment and something new: “Dance Party Friday.”
“We get the whole school to dance because it’s Friday,” said Feuse, who was editing the segment, which showed clips of students and teachers dancing to the song “Hey Ya,” by Outkast. 
“Everybody loves Dance Party Friday,” he said.
Arroyo enrolled in the class because she wants to be a broadcast reporter and plans to study that in college. She also thought it would be easy, but was soon surprised how much work was involved. Her biggest challenge was learning how to edit. 
“It’s really fun,” she said. “You learn a lot of things you don’t think you would.”
Feuse also said editing video is time-consuming. But he enjoys the class so he doesn’t mind.
“There’s not enough time in the day,” she said.
Balke is headed to Kennesaw University in the fall to study communications. She said she likes all the aspects of the class – editing and being in front of the camera – and is dedicated.
She’s stayed up all night brainstorming ideas and after school until 5:30 p.m. to edit video. To her, the class sometimes feels more like a job.
“I’m kind of a nerd in this class,” she said.
Her co-anchor, Balcomb, enjoys the experience of delivering the news to his fellow students. There’s a lot of organization involved in pulling off WCTV, he said, and everyone has an assignment and everyone is important.
“You have to do your job,” Sheffield said in agreement.
Turner has been teaching the class for six years. Film II is also a film class, so students watch and analyze films such as “Forrest Gump” and “It Happened One Night.”
Students learn how to work as a team and how to write, present a story and consider the audience while working on WCTV, she said.
Over the years, the technology has improved and students are much more capable than Turner when working with computers and other equipment, she said. 
“The students are much more savvy with technology,” she said.

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