Chuck Blake has always had a vision. The Reeltown Elementary School custodian wished to bring his passion for video production to a younger generation. Fortunately for Blake, he didn’t have to look far.
Earlier this school year, Blake sparked the idea to launch a student-operated broadcast news program.
“I came up with the idea, and presented it to [Principal Lisa] Hornsby, and she was excited about it,” he said. “I've always wanted to do something like this, and with the new school, we have the technology now.”
As such, “ReelNews” was born, a live 10-Minute newscast that airs daily throughout the Reeltown Elementary School campus. As lead director, Blake describes the experience as a dream come true.
“I've always had an interest in video production. I've learned how to do this on my own, and I would have never imagined it would be at this point,” Blake said.
A 2001 Dadeville graduate, Blake initially joined the school system 18 years ago as a custodian, but has always loved being behind a camera. Outside of school, Blake has dedicated hours to learning the craft of video production and even has founded a wedding video company, Imagine This Films.
Now, Blake shares his craft with the school’s students as he oversees “ReelNews” in conjunction with three school faculty members.
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“It's been such a joy to see the idea I had really taken off, and that we were able to make it happen,” Blake said. “It has become something that fourth and fifth graders already can't wait to be a part of.”
Blake also notes the experience as educationally beneficial as students operate every aspect of the broadcast production, with the school’s sixth grade class participating in everything from handling cameras to managing lights and video editing software.
Blake explained that the hands-on approach helps expose students to applicable job training and provides an outlet for students interested in pursuing a career in either broadcasting, filmmaking or news reporting.
“I've already seen what this has done for these kids, and how it has helped them figure out what they may want to do in life, and them putting out this show may help them one day with their career,” he said.
Twelve student anchors have been chosen to lead the show during the 2022-2023 school year. Casting officially began in the spring when the school hosted auditions for both anchors and behind-the-scenes crew.
ReelNews airs every weekday morning at 7:30 a.m., and is privately live streamed on YouTube exclusively to the school’s students and staff.