Eagle Valley High School students to be featured on PBS NewsHour program

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Langston James, Emit Brown and Sam Elliott (left to right) are all members of the student media class at Eagle Valley High School and produce for EVTV. On Tuesday, January 25, their work will be featured at a national PBS NewsHour event on student life during the pandemic.
Joy Hamilton/Courtesy Photo

Over the past two years, the pandemic has gripped the education system and affected students. While parents, administrators, and community members have spoken about student needs, student voices have not always been at the forefront of these discussions.

However, next week, three students from Eagle Valley High School‘s student media class will be featured at a national PBS NewsHour event to share stories and talk about issues they care about that may have been overlooked in class. recent school years.

“None of their stories have to do with the pandemic, which I think is quite important; a lot of that stuff hasn’t really been eclipsed because of this COVID narrative and learning loss and the negative side,” said Joy Hamilton, an English teacher at Eagle Valley High School and an advisor to the faculty of student media. “It’s nice to see what else is happening in education and our students are highlighting some of the really positive things, but also some of the issues that we still need to pay attention to.”



Eagle Valley High School’s Student Media Program is a PBS Student Reporting Laba program that allows students from across the country to work with PBS’s young producers to submit and create stories for production on the national NewsHour broadcasts.

For this specific event, Sam Elliott and Langston James, both high school seniors, produced a story about Ms. V’s skateboarding class at Red Canyon High School and the world of skateboarding in Eagle County. Emit Brown, a sophomore at Eagle Valley High School, participated in a panel on the rights of transgender students.



The three students’ work will be featured on Tuesday, Jan. 25 during the one-hour PBS NewsHour event titled “Our New Normal: How Teens are Redefining School Life.”.” The event begins at 5 p.m. and will be streamed on YouTube. In addition to plays that Eagle Valley students have contributed to and produced, the event will cover mental health, school safety, teaching running in the classroom and more.

For each student, the opportunity to be involved with the show combined their favorite parts about student media and gave them real-world insight and insight into the world of broadcast journalism.

“It’s hard to stay up to date on school broadcast programs with what’s happening in the industry; my favorite part of this program is that you hear from people who are in the industry,” Hamilton said. “It’s so nice to have access to that because it’s such a more authentic experience for them and prepares them so much better for what you can actually do in the field and the processes they use, like scripting and things that the industry uses that we may not have known about in our program.

Brown said her favorite part of being involved with the class and the PBS program is that it helps get student voices heard.

“I know that, of course, teachers have a lot of opinions, but it’s also nice to give students a chance to speak up so that teachers also know how they can change their policies and rules and how they can make school a better place to be,” Brown said.

James echoed that sentiment, saying class and EVTV helps him connect with the wider Eagle Valley High School community.

“It helps bring everyone together; it helps bring teachers and students closer together and keep everyone on the same page,” James said.

During the pandemic, the Eagle Valley Student Media Class helped keep the three students connected to this community as they worked hard to continue producing their show and providing the community with valuable insights.

“It took a long time to get used to the way things were going to be, but actually, for my upbringing in particular, this class was really good of me,” Elliott said. “We always had these opportunities to do stories and do packages. It was a lot harder and it was very frustrating at times, but we still kept doing episodes throughout the pandemic, which was really great.

Tell their stories

Students hope that those who watch next week’s show will learn new ways to help and teach students.
Joy Hamilton/Courtesy Photo

In the upcoming PBS show, the hard work of the students will be on display. For each of these student media shows, PBS issues a prompt, then students across the country can submit their ideas, and then only a handful are selected to appear on the show.

For Elliott and James, skateboarding history happened quite naturally. Elliott had previously worked with skateboarding class teacher Ms. V and thought the PBS invite was the perfect opportunity to showcase a unique student experience offered in Eagle County.

“We cover his class and just show people what it’s all about, but we also talk about the skateboarding culture and community in Eagle Valley,” Elliott said. “One of the big topics we talk about is how skateboarding can be such a healthy and beneficial activity for a lot of people, but it’s not really used that often. Schools offer things like traditional sports teams, and we kind of think skateboarding should be offered as well.

Brown’s participation on the trans rights panel also came naturally as he had previously worked with PBS on a video about LGBTQ education. The panel includes several transgender and non-binary students and was pre-recorded over winter break for next Tuesday’s show.

“It was mostly about our experiences at school and how we wanted it to be different, how teachers and students are, what it’s like to change your pronouns and your name at middle of the school year, to try to get kids to use them, so it just brought out the things that we’re hiding that we don’t necessarily want,” Brown said.

Brown added that the student panel discussed topics such as gender-neutral restrooms, coming out of binary, and other big debates.

“I hope teachers or administrators see this and take it as an example of what they should do and how they should treat children as a whole; it’s not just kids in the LGBTQ community, it’s pretty much everyone,” Brown said. “We need more equity in our schools, and I hope teachers take this panel and this whole special as an example of what they should be doing.”

Likewise, Elliott said he hopes school leaders and teachers across the country, watching the entirety of PBS NewsHour, will see that there are “more progressive and intuitive ways to teach students “.

“People learn in different ways, and what I hope comes out of both media is that it shows schools that there are different ways of teaching students that are much more beneficial than the way they do it. right now,” James said. “I think those two things are really similar – the skateboard and the panel that Emit did are both similar enough to show schools that it’s okay to try different things because schools can benefit and students can learn more easily.”

This is something Hamilton agreed with, noting that the PBS program provides a unique opportunity for students to have their voices heard.

“We need to listen more to students, and that’s what I appreciate about this report lab program is that their primary focus is the voice of young people,” Hamilton said. “I hope people listen and hear what is presented by our students; it’s so cool to have a platform for that.

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