DALY CITY, CA – When school opened in September 1966 at the Murray Avenue Elementary School in Larchmont, New York – about half an hour from Manhattan – the first TV studio in an elementary school in the U.S. was unveiled. A modern 3-camera studio had been installed in the school basement.
Parent volunteer and project driver Jean Baity guided and trained the school’s fifth and sixth graders together with other parent volunteers to develop “The Morning Show”, patterned after “The Today Show” of NBC. Students took turns serving as talent on the program, after which they would be invited to join the technical crew. In a short time, fifth graders had been trained to use cameras, lighting systems, and the special effects panel, to write scripts and to do interviews. The fifth graders became active TV producers in the school, while the sixth graders saw themselves as executive producers, overseeing all aspects of production.
Inside the studio, the students enjoyed listening to talks of Henni Espinosa of BA and Eugene Libadia of Engineering. They also experienced how it’s like to report on cam.
Just recently, ABS-CBN Foundation International (AFI) worked with neighboring school partner Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Daly City to bring 28 students from third to fifth grades for The Filipino Channel (TFC) Studio and Office Tour. It may not be building TV studios in schools, but it’s opening the doors of the leading Filipino media and entertainment network to its neighbors in the community.
Many of the visiting students are Filipino in heritage. Some of them come from households that watch TFC, so they were very excited during the tour. Over 20 percent of Woodrow Wilson Elementary School’s student population is Filipino.
While the purpose of the visit was not actual media training, the students were exposed to how a media organization looks like and operates. They met representatives of various departments, listened to BA Desk Editor and award-winning news reporter and anchor Henni Espinosa explain what it means to be in the news profession and the importance of the kapamilya or family culture in ABS-CBN. Eugene Libadia of Engineering introduced the students to the studio and allowed them to experience on-cam reporting, use the green screen and read from the teleprompter. He also shared what it’s like to work behind the scenes as part of the technical crew.
The students saw themselves live on the TV monitor with Filipina American Guinness Book of World Records holder, armless pilot and motivational speaker Jessica Cox.
The students even had the extra treat of meeting in person Jessica Cox who was at TFC that day for interviews before she left for Israel to be a speaker at TEDx Tel Aviv. Filipina American Cox is the Guinness World Record holder for being the first armless woman to fly with her feet in 2008. Still a licensed pilot, Cox is also a motivational speaker who even earned a blackbelt from the American Taekwondo Association.
After the tour, AFI brought all the students to the office lunch room to provide snacks and refreshments. Each student visitor left with TFC swag and goodies.
“We have been working with principal Sara Rich and the staff of Woodrow Wilson Elementary School every Christmas season for our Gifts of Love program since we moved to Daly City. This time, principal Rich wanted to reward students with a field trip for their dedication, hard work and consistent attendance in an early morning math program that helps students overcome their challenges in learning math,” said AFI Managing Director Jerry Bennett.
“We thought that a TFC studio and office tour could give them a shared learning and social experience that provides them with the opportunity to explore new things in an authentic setting,” Bennett continued. “It is a different environment from their classroom. It is visual literacy that allows them to see the world in new, engaging ways. Who knows what doors were opened in their minds after this? We thank principal Sara with Tomoko Matsui, Kevin Ferrer and Nerius Mercado who accompanied the students to our official home in Daly City. We in AFI and TFC are just happy to have done this for them.”