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Rodgers Forge students get a Camden Yards' experience to remember

Rodgers Forge Elementary News Crew members learn the basics of the video switcher in the control room from Jeremy Parrish of the Maryland Stadium Authority.
Rodgers Forge Elementary News Crew members learn the basics of the video switcher in the control room from Jeremy Parrish of the Maryland Stadium Authority. (Courtesy Photo/Katie Schmidt)

Library is a favorite special-area subject for students at many elementary school students, and Rodgers Forge Elementary School is no exception. RFES is fortunate to have had library media specialist Pete Holden on staff since 2015. Holden enjoys helping children explore and develop a love of reading for information and for entertainment, as well as to be tech savvy, independent learners and to become responsible digital citizens. But RFES also appreciates Mr. Holden for his work with the School News Crew, which he supervises along with S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow) teacher Katie Schmidt. The RFES School News Crew produces dynamic morning news announcements to keep the entire student body and staff informed.

Additionally, Holden has an alter ego (aka, “second job”) in a setting vastly different from the quiet library at RFES. He is a member of the game day staff at Camden Yards, where his night work includes numerous tasks at the ballpark related to the enormous Jumbotron display, such as working the audio, putting up the balls/strikes, doing the animations and working the scoreboard.

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On May 30, Holden finagled some special Orioles magic to bring two of his worlds together. He took the RFES School News Crew (together with Schmidt, and RFES Principal Missy Fanshaw) to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The RFES News Crew team includes students Sophia Aguilar, Tulika Ahuja, Finlay Harmon, Kathryn Kimberly, Dekker Kordon, Laiba Monir, Noel Morris-Melnick, Ariane Noual, Sarah Proutt, Lily Reisse and Evan Sirota. The group was treated to a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The crew of media-savvy fifth-graders (now rising sixth-graders) was granted special permission to work the real cameras, audio and animations in the control room and make things appear on the huge screen at the ballpark. “The field trip was such a cool opportunity to see how the cameras and everything work behind the scenes,” said student Ariane Noual. News Crew colleague Tulika Ahuja added, “I really enjoyed playing videos like the hot-dog race on the big screen using the clip server.” Those are some lucky kids; I know many adults who would delight in such an opportunity!

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The behind-the-scenes excursion allowed the students to put their school media studio experience into practice. “It turns the light bulb on for them to see a career that connects to what they're doing—and you can see their faces light up as they use the same equipment that the professionals do,” Holden said.

While there, the team filmed a video feature presentation about their experience, detailing what they did and what they learned on their adventure. They broadcast the special report for the school upon their return.

As a side note, I also would like to acknowledge that Katie Schmidt was recognized in May as a Teacher of the Year nominee for her outstanding job as the school’s new S.T.A.T. teacher. Great things are certainly happening at RFES!

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