September 22, 2020

Announcing Friday morning changes

The Friday Morning Announcements, filmed in the TV/Video studio every Thursday afternoon, will likely significantly evolve this year. (Photo by Rachel Landau '16)

Teachers play them every Friday morning as soon as advisory starts. They last about seven minutes, and ideally they start Fridays off on a good note, adding some humor to an otherwise bland school day. But what really goes into making the Friday morning announcements, and what is their true purpose in the high school?

The announcements have existed as an integral part of the high school experience for years. Anchors sign up to read news from around the school; clubs and student organizations give announcements; a third anchor reads the weather, and the ‘Question of the Week’  segment provides the laughs. However, what goes on behind-the-scenes, led by the team behind the announcements, truly decides what goes on and what changes week-to-week.

Ms. Julie Spilka, TV/Video teacher, and Nate Parsons ’17 run the process that is the Friday morning announcements.

“My responsibilities include making sure we have anchors, making sure we have enough kids to help behind the scenes running the equipment, gathering all the announcements [from clubs and student organizations] that people email to me, and organizing the announcements in a structured way,” said Spilka, faculty advisor to the announcements.

“I also make sure that the ‘Question of the Week’ is done and appropriate, and I edit in all of the segments to create the final cut of the announcements, which I email to all members of the faculty,” said Spilka.

Parsons took over this year as the student director of the announcements.

“My job is to tell volunteers how to do their individual jobs in the control room. I also do the setup and disassembly of the camera equipment and explain things to the anchors,” said Parsons.

While the announcements have tended to contain a reasonably standard week-to-week formula, those involved are working to change that.

“I think there is always room for improvement, especially with something as dynamic as the announcements,” said Parsons. “The typical style of the announcements is starting to get a little stale, and we are always looking for new segments or ideas to make things more interesting.”

Jon Refojo ’17 agrees. He one of the teaching assistants for TV/Video and one of the teaching assistants in charge of creating and producing the ‘Question of the Week.’

“I think that the announcements for all the great activities that the high school offers are awesome. However, the morning announcements are now essentially one big commercial and we need to find a way to balance out the advertisements with the more enjoyable parts,” said Refojo.

“There definitely needs to be more variety,” said Spilka. “We definitely want to change some things in the announcements.”

The producers of the announcements have plenty of ideas as to how to change what they see as an adaptable entity.

“We hope to add either a sports segment or a performing arts segment,” said Spilka. “I have my intensive students coming up with new ideas on things that we can add, like maybe just doing different things as far as broadcasting in different places around the building, or working with The Bradford to make video segments that can be included on the announcements.”

“Some of the other teaching assistants and I actually came up with a list of some new possible segments to add to the morning announcements and we are meeting with the principals soon to see what they think,” said Refojo.

Diversifying the group of people interviewed each week for the Question of the Week is another major goal for the announcements.

In addition to the idea that the announcements must shift in order to maintain interest and variety, the architects behind the videos all agree on the purpose of the announcements in the high school. They believe that while there will always be time for serious moments, the announcements exist to make people laugh and provide a respite from the day-to-day boredom that school can become.

“Personally, I would like them to be a little more fun, because students would be even more engaged, while still getting the news,” said Parsons.

Spilka agrees. “I feel like they should stay entertaining and fun. Some think they should be more serious, but in my opinion I think they should remain more lighthearted and something that kids look forward to watching on Fridays,” said Spilka.

While they have worked together to establish the announcements as a fun and informative way to start Fridays, the team behind these fun videos is nowhere near done. The behind-the-scenes crew works constantly to advance both the content and production of the Friday morning announcements, improving even more on what is already an integral part of everyday life at the high school.

(Zach Miller ’17, Features Editor)

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