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SIUE Mass Comm. Dept. gives East St. Louis Charter High School students media lessons

CHS-TVTwo hands raised in answer to the question of how many students were interested in careers in media and mass communications. At the conclusion of the visit to the television station, radio station and student newspaper at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, eight of the 12 students’ hands shot up when the question was asked again.

“I’d like to be a broadcast reporter,” said Theodric Belt Jr., a junior at the SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School (CHS). Belt is part of CHS’s new Media Literacy class, which visited the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Mass Communications on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

CHS-WSIE“I was amazed at the kindness and amount of support offered to the students at the Charter High School,” said CHS fine arts instructor Hope Jordan, who co-teaches Media Literacy with CHS English instructor Colin Neumeyer. “Everyone genuinely cared and embraced our students and wanted to see them succeed.”

“The trip was absolutely amazing,” added Neumeyer. “The students not only saw the impressive offerings and opportunities that the University has to offer in this field, but they also saw generous and inviting people who made them feel they could be a part of the program, if they choose to go to SIUE.”

The elective course began August 16 and will end May 2023. Several years ago, Neumeyer offered a media class that dealt only with film and video. He and Jordan petitioned CHS administrators to expand the course to include writing, design and radio.

CHS-Alestle“We want to focus the class on student-based projects, video production and a school newspaper,” explained Neumeyer.

The students’ Edwardsville tour began with a welcome and overview of the Department of Mass Communications Chair Musonda Kapatamoyo, Ph.D.

“Faculty members, broadcast engineers and I were able to show the breadth and depth of mass communications,” said Kapatamoyo. “I believe the students were impressed with the potential of the mass communication industry and the resources that our department provides.”

The students’ tour included:

  • The TV Master Control Room and TV studios, with broadcast engineers Theresa Pauli and Benjamin Moyer
  • The WSIE offices and studios, with Director Jason Church, Associate Director Robin Boyce and senior mass communications major Jenna Williams
  • The Alestle offices, with Program Director Tammy Merrett, Editor-in-Chief Emily Sterzinger, Managing Editor Gabriel Brady, Lifestyles Editor Francesca Boston and Reporter Dylan Hembrough. The Alestle is part of SIUE Student Affairs.

“I like talking to people, speaking in front of a camera and editing,” said Belt. “I also like to see what goes on behind the scenes.”

“I like to write,” said CHS sophomore Jaden Jones, who has plans to become a pediatrician. “This class is really interesting. I think it will help me write better.”

Students learned the many ways there are to be a communicator, according to Kapatamoyo.

“For example, they understand that this field includes media production, advertising and strategic media, as well as journalism,” he continued. “Within these broad fields, they learned how to effectively use cameras, software, podcasting stations and the television news set.”

“To say a number of our students were excited about this trip is an understatement,” said Jordan. “It was especially important for them to see what can be achieved in the area of media.”

“I already see the impact that the trip made on most of the students who went,” noted Neumeyer. “They are talking about it and are enthusiastic. Students who didn’t go have heard the trip was really cool and said they would also like to visit the mass communications department.”

“We are very open to hosting the class again and being further involved in providing assistance and instruction,” offered Kapatamoyo. “Professor (Cory) Byers, who teaches media production, suggested that the students visit his production class on Wednesday afternoons when they videotape. Other faculty members are also willing to speak to the students about specific topics.”

Other Media Literacy students include Aiya Anesca, Aaliyah Coleman, Aaqilah Graham, Nicholas Hart, Devante Hyde, Justus Kidd, Sydney McGhee, Kiara Robinson, Patrick Washington, Jai’den Wells and Tremiya Willis. 

The SIUE Charter High School is a school of choice for families in the East St. Louis School District 189. The mission of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Charter High School is to prepare students who are career- and college-ready upon graduation. To achieve this mission, the school and its staff will positively impact the educational and economic lives of East St. Louis, Illinois youth through individualized instruction in core academic subjects, exploration of career interests and aptitudes, assistance in realizing students’ talents, high academic goals, and expectations that graduates will become competitive employees for the 21st century.

SIUE Photos:

  1. SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School (CHS) students from the school’s Media Literacy class visit SIUE’s television studios. Front row (seated) left to right: Aiya Ansca, Justus Kidd, Theodric Belt Jr., Jaiden Wells and CHS fine arts teacher Hope Jordan. Back row left to right: Mass Communications Chair Musonda Kapatamoyo, Ph.D., CHS English teacher Colin Neumeyer, Aaliyah Coleman, Devante Hyde, Tremiya Willis, Kiara Robinson, Sydney McGhee, Aaqilah Graham, Jaden Jones and Patrick Washington. 
  2. CHS students also visited the studios of WSIE FM The Sound. SIUE mass communications major Jenna Williams (facing camera) interviews CHS sophomore Jaden Jones. Observing in the background is WSIE Director Jason Church. L-R: CHS students watching along the wall: Robinson, Willis, Washington, Graham, Coleman and McGhee. 
  3. Alestle Program Director Tammy Merrett (left) explains some of the functions of the newspaper to CHS students. 

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