OKES News Team teaches students leadership, work skills


Orchard Knob Elementary School fifth-graders on the OKES News Team from left are sports reporter Brian Hatcher, lunch reporter Shawn Long, forecaster Ortiz Wade, news anchor Imani Rowe and special events announcer Christian Rivers. OKES principal LaFrederick Thirkill, back left, and camera man/OKES behavior specialist John Hale assist in keeping the morning school news on the air at OKES.

Every morning at 8:20 a.m., the Orchard Knob Elementary School News Team presents the news to fellow students from a desk streamed live throughout the school building.

The team of five fifth-graders takes their news job seriously, only sitting before camera man and OKES behavior specialist John Hale with a script in hand.

“It’s our highest honor at Orchard Knob Elementary to be on the news team,” said principal LaFrederick Thirkill. “Channel 3’s David Carroll complimented them, and former TV news reporter Scottie Summerlin of the Mayor’s Office gave them some tips.”

Thirkill said the news team was selected based on each member’s leadership skills, grades and overall school performance.

“It is our first year to do the newscast and our first crew,” he said. “Future goals are to have a third-, fourth- and fifth-grade news team, so we can let grade levels rotate presenting the news. The newscast definitely enhances their public speaking skills.”

He added that the newscast also ties into the school’s mission statement. OKES News Team anchor Imani Rowe reads the statement every morning: “The mission of Orchard Knob Elementary is to provide a positive, pleasant and purposeful learning culture and climate to enable all students the opportunity to succeed in life by reading effectively, thinking creatively and critically, writing intelligently and speaking convincingly.”

“I challenge students to memorize the mission statement,” said Imani. “I stop students sometimes and ask them what it is.”

After Imani reads the statement, forecaster Ortiz Wade reads the weather report. Next, lunch reporter Shawn Long presents the menu. Then, sports reporter Brian Hatcher presents the NBA Basketball Report.

Special events reporter Christian Rivers told students Jan. 31 to go to Ms. White’s office if they won the Character Trait Award.

“We are super proud of these guys,” said Thirkill. “They present the news so well and they are professional. We have a Saturday Writing Academy where they read aloud what they write to enhance their skills.”


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