Producing learners

There only were five students in Marie Fox’s first television production class at the Williamsport Area High School. And they didn’t receive one credit for the class.

But four years later, the class has become so popular that Fox is left having to choose which students get it on their schedule and receive academic credits.

“It’s fun. There’s a sense of comradery,” said senior Brian LeBlanc.

In order to be approved into the class, students must already have taken a drama class. Also, since the class records the morning announcements each morning, Fox said students must be responsible and professional.

Fox said each student has a job during the broadcasts, so if a student is going to be unreliable and not consistently show up for class, the rest of the class and production is in a bind.

“I really try hard to make them look at it like (a) business,” Fox said.

In some respects, Fox believes that being in the class helps motivate students to show up every day and on time.

And most students who were asked what got them interested in the class all responded by mentioning Fox. Students said they enjoy the way the class is structured, as it isn’t a traditional classroom setting. This, Fox said, is something she strives for.

“I don’t treat it like a traditional class,” she said. ” … I respect them. They respect me. I’m not standing up there lecturing them.”

Students said they normally learn from each other and by doing tasks, instead of being told how to do things.

Fox said while other classes receive good skills, this course gives them “great life experiences.”

“I learned how to speak to a crowd of people even though it’s through a screen,” said senior Justin Ceasar-Augustus.

Most students said it wasn’t something they were planning to study further after high school, but they have enjoyed the work that they’ve done in it.

Besides the morning announcements, the class has made videos on new faculty members, sports teams and other skill-building activities.

The class also in under way with a series of marketing videos for the district’s education foundation’s capital campaign for a new football field at the high school.

Senior Olivia Stabley said she likes the class because she gets the opportunity to learn about all aspects of production.

“It’s cool because we get to see both sides of things,” she said.

And while Junior Sam Engel likes being in front of the camera, Senior Susan Crowell likes the behind-the-scenes duties.

“Every single person’s job in the tech (department) is important, no matter how small it is,” she said.

Fox said with changing technology and different techniques, she’s “constantly revamping the curriculum.” Fox hopes for more equipment to move the program along.

“I do love this program. I just want to see it grow,” she said.