Live Morning Announcements at Briarcliff High School Add Another Dimension

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words is a two-minute video?

Each morning at Briarcliff High School, during period two, students and staff hear the morning announcements over the public announcement system. But on Fridays, the announcements are read by students in a live broadcast on television screens in all of the classes.

The idea to have the announcements on a live show was the brainchild of seniors Ben Raphael and Jessica Gordon.

The students said that they had the idea last year.

“It is so exciting now to see how the idea has flourished,” they said.

The live announcements began in May of last year and have continued this year on Fridays at around 9:20 am.

Set-up for the show is a task in and of itself.

Each Friday morning at 7:00 am, John Gonsalves and Renato Nunez from the Technology Department set up room 134 to prepare for the live show.

At 7:45, English teacher Jamie Mandel joins them and continues with the set-up.

“I set up the lights, tables, chairs, mic, etc., together with Gonsalves and Nunez,” Mandel said. “We use the video cart to live-stream the show into all of the classes at the school.”

At 9:20 Ben and Jessica come in to the room to do the announcements and then continue to their classes.

“Things are a little rushed. When Ben and Jessica are done, I have to leave to teach a class, so students from the tech crew Alex Southern, Conor Duperouzzel and Anika Zaidi break down the set up,” Mandel said.

As with all live shows, things do not always go as planned.

“We have had times when the teleprompter did not work, but Ben and Jessica always have a copy of the printed announcements as a backup,” Mandel said. “They do a really nice job. When you look at them you cannot even tell that they are reading a teleprompter. It is not an easy skill.”

Mandel hopes to have a designated room for the morning announcements in the future in order to do them every day.

“If we had a room dedicated just for that, we would not have to spend so much time on set-up and break down,” she said. “We could leave the lights and teleprompter and the tables.”

Mandel also hopes to add more content to the morning show over time.

“It would be great to add some footage or plugs for upcoming sports games,” she said. “It would enhance the show and make it more informative.”

According to Mandel, the feedback has been positive.

“We received great feedback from students and teachers alike and the administration has been very supportive,” she said. “It is fun to put it on.”

“We love getting to be part of something new for the school,” Ben and Jessica said. “We love making the live announcements our own and being creative.”

In the spring, classes will be over for seniors, and Ben and Jessica will be on internship, so Mandel will train juniors to take over.

“There is a learning curve,” she said. “Student announcers have to learn how to read on the teleprompter, how to use a mic and how to engage with the camera.”

Ben and Jessica have advice to share with the new presenters.

“We would advise future presenters to always have fun,” they said. “Make the script your own. When you mess up, laugh it off. As Mandel says, ‘Smile and relax.’”

The announcements are available on the school website for anyone to watch:

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