Warrior News and Theatre Company

Kaleb Johnson, a fifth-grade teacher at Hyde Elementary, stands in front of the school’s Warrior News and Theatre Company set.

Students at Hyde Elementary now have the opportunity to be a part of their school’s Warrior News and Theatre Company.

A recent Appleseed grant awarded fifth-grade teacher Kaleb Johnson with around $1,200 to not only purchase a few theater scripts for his students, but also to allow fourth- and fifth-graders at Hyde Elementary to take part in the after-school club that meets for an hour once a week.

Starting in December, 30 students working as anchors, editors and reporters began putting together a weekly video broadcast show that currently airs in the school’s cafeteria and highlights not only local school events and lunch items, but also entertainment and sports segments.

“I just think that the arts are something that help so many kids be able to express themselves and really find who they are and be themselves in a comfortable environment,” Johnson said. “And I just have always wished as a kid that that’s something that we had started earlier in the elementary world. Yes they have music class and art class, but once they get to high school, they have all kinds of different opportunities in the arts, so I want to start and foster that love early with them.”

With that Appleseed Grant, which helps to fund unique initiatives within the district, the school purchased a green screen kit, a small broadcasting table, lighting kits, a camcorder, a tripod and some wireless microphones. A new iPad also was purchased for editing the footage while doubling as a teleprompter for the students.

Upon seeing the first show, Johnson remembers his students receiving applause from the teachers and students.

Jaxon Atkins hosted the first video’s sports segment and said he’s learned that getting in front of a camera takes practice and perseverance.

“I’ve heard some of my friends say that I could be on like ‘Sports Center’ or something,” Atkins laughed. “So I sort of want to get there, and I want to see my group succeed and just do well.”

Daniel Cobb can be reached at daniel.cobb@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowCobb.