Students inform Wadsworth High with weekly announcements


This January in WHS, an announcement club, run by Mr. Paul Taylor, began to introduce the events at the school through a video format.
Wadsworth High School originally had their announcements come through the PA system of each classroom. However, it was difficult for students in loud classrooms to pay attention to upcoming events and was challenging for teachers to stop class to hear the announcements if they happened to be late.

“I worked with [telecommunications and] the Browns for 15 years…I wanted to get back into education,” Taylor said. “When I got here, there were no video announcements, there was nothing about broadcasting. Mr. Sieber, Dr. Suber, and the other principals thought that it would be a good idea to start a club this semester to get everyone used to what we’re going to be doing next year.”

Due to Taylor having years of experience, the announcements team began with very few issues. The organization of Taylor’s teaching helps information flow freely throughout the studio and classroom.

Mr. Taylor helps instruct his students on how to properly set up the microphones for recording. The microphones help focus the audio so that it does not get bounced around the room. Photo by Jade Wilcox

Taylor’s classroom is set up to help these students achieve their highest potential. There are research desks with computers around the edges of the room, and the desks are lengthened tables to encourage students to communicate with each other at a closer distance. The studio and recording stations are located towards the back of the classroom, with semi-soundproofed doors to help keep wanted sound in and unwanted sound out. The occasional loud noises of rolling chairs and books slamming against the desks can be heard, but other noises, such as talking and keyboard clicks, are blocked out via the thick doors.

Taylor does most of the editing for the announcements using Adobe Premiere.

Although the studio itself is quite small, Taylor hopes to get the room expanded so that more professional equipment can be used properly. At the moment, the green screen is being propped up with clothes pins, instead of official clamps and background lights are used to light the foreground.
“Obviously we want to have a proper backdrop, no more green screen,” Taylor said. “I want to have a separate set for sports and weather. I know Mr. Heffinger has the publications room, but we can’t do that in this space, as you can tell we’re a little cramped. I am planning to get help [from the carpentry teachers]. [The question is] if I’m going to stay in this space, how do we utilize this?”

The problem with drop ceilings, like the one in the studio room, is that the sound bounces around the room, which reverbs and distorts it. In order to have a more efficient recording studio, the ceiling should be moved a little higher. If that is not possible, more soundproofing objects, such as foam, should be installed. Unfortunately, having more objects added onto the walls and ceilings will make the room more confined, which was the initial problem that the announcements team was struggling with.

Since this club began a couple months ago, it has gained some ground with the school. The student count had gone from two students to six last month. Now to about eight and ten members of the student ensemble.

“[The announcements] started the second week once the semester started,” Taylor said. “I put together a little script that’s in a Google Slide format, and all the students come in during 5A. We eat lunch together and go over the script as well as other ideas we can use for the next couple of broadcasts.”

They have been coming in weekly to participate in spreading information to the rest of the school during Academic Lab. Each student filters into the classroom, and begins to talk amongst Taylor and themselves.

They start with going over their script, and then get to filming. It takes them around ten to fifteen takes to get it right some days. The club does not have positions, they are quite flexible and switch around often.

Taylor needed more students to fill the newscast positions, so he decided to ask students in his videography class.

“Only me and Logan Merkle showed up and we were really excited, we could influence school however we wanted,” said Cale Breuers, a senior who joined from the videography class.

It is important for news rooms to keep becoming updated and gather new ideas. This is most likely why students from his broadcasting class are currently in the announcements club.

Tyler Blum was one of the first people to join the announcements club.

“[Mr. Taylor] is really fun,” Blum said. “I think he’s really open to new ideas. [He let us come] up with the sports section idea, and all of the [teacher] interviews. We were really excited because we had free rein. We could influence school and make whatever we wanted.”

The announcements provide students with information about what is going on around WHS in an entertaining manner. They have different segments including, news, sports, and interviews.

“I’m learning the ins and outs of how scheduling works and I’m also trying to tie that into how production works,” Taylor said.

Taylor is excited to begin a new class next year to spark students’ interest in news casting and broadcasting. His Introduction to Broadcasting class will be available next year to take for an entire school year.