For the 2021 school year, Abilene High School media students had a chance to learn outside the classroom with the hands-on experience of running a media day for AHS sports teams. The first media day was held for fall sports and on Nov 19 students held their second media day for the winter season.
“It kind of came out of the need for content, because we’ve had a lot of ‘we’re always needing things for social media, coaches need things to put out to brag about their players,” AHS journalism teacher Charity Bathurst said.
On Friday, students created and edited the new content from photos to videos to interviews with players from each team, all the while creating classic high school memories.
“It was kind of our first time in the fall,” Bathurst said. “It turned out to just be fun. I mean it was just really energizing for us getting to do it and then for the teams kind of having some camaraderie together. So, it feels like it’s been a win win.”
Since the media days happen during school hours, coaches don’t need to worry about time being taken away from their practices and they still get to show off their players.
“It gives us a platform to recognize several different sports and activities; for instance, it’ll be easier to show off the wrestlers and other activities like basketball players,” AHS wrestling head coach James Stout said. “So we can really kind of showcase our students and student athletes on other platforms without taking actual time out to do it with what these media boards allow us to do.”
In between taking photos, running errands and editing the green screen, AHS seniors Libby Kohler and Connor Rose shared how proud they were about the day’s work.
“It’s great because I now have an idea of getting content for like a bunch of people and being able to use that throughout,” Rose said. “Because I’ve made videos using this content and it really is good because we have stuff we can use.”
“I feel like I have a lot of power,” Kohler said. “It’s just I think it’s a good chance to really dive into it.”
“I really like when we finally get things finished and edited,” Kohler added. “We’re really happy with what they get to see. It just makes me feel like I did something good.”
While the students looked on their work with pride, the adults in the room looked at their students with pride and excitement with the future of AHS media.
“It’s always a great day,” AHS principal Dr. Ben Smith said. “It’s a good way to not only get some good publicity and press for the athletes and those who are participating, but it’s also great on the other end of it for the students to be involved in the planning the day out and being involved with the hands-on work.”
“I told the kids yesterday at practice that they’re going through a really good time at Abilene High School where they get to experience something like this, that is division one level media marketing and not just that but the recognition that they get,” Stout said. “But also the students that are involved in putting it together, they’re getting some big skills that’s going to carry them if they do choose to do something like this in the future.”
“This is so awesome,” AHS media advisor Ron Preston said. “I tell you what, the exposure these kids get to real life and real life possibilities, being you know, this could be what I go into as a profession…the ability to get a student athlete to think when they’re questioned and be able to to speak in front of a person or a group. I think that’s empowering (to the students.)”
For current and future AHS students wanting to learn about media class, Bathurst welcomes any students to try out the challenging content.
“We have a blast in the student media department,” Bathurst said. “We’ve just been trying new things and we’ve been given so many opportunities with new technology. It really requires us to think out of the box…It’s a really awesome group of kids to be working with and I invite anyone who wants to come and we work hard, we celebrate hard.”