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Student journalists steal spotlight to highlight $54.5M referendum impact

Shawano County School District's Clever Approach to Referendum Awareness
Posted at 5:44 PM, Mar 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-22 21:42:39-04
  • Shawano County engages students to spread awareness of upcoming referendum
  • Student Success 8th Grade class produces weekly news broadcast, shifts focus to referendum education
  • Students break down referendum details, including $54.5 million price tag.
  • Click HERE to watch the student's video

In Shawano County, the buzz surrounding the upcoming spring election isn't just a topic for adults. The local school district is engaging its students in an innovative way and tapping into the creativity of some budding journalists to spread awareness of a referendum on the spring ballot.
Every week, the Student Success 8th Grade class at Shawano Community Middle School puts together a student news broadcast. This time, however, they've shifted their focus to educating their viewers about the upcoming referendum and educating their viewers about how it directly impacts their community.

In the informative video, the students break down the details of the referendum, including its $54.5 million price tag.

Robert O'Reilly, an 8th-grade student and anchor of the broadcast, reflects on the impact of their efforts. "Hearing it from kids was probably a better message than a bunch of principals asking parents, can I have some money," he says.

The broadcast exposes the much-needed maintenance needed to upgrade facilities.

"We needed a lot of stuff fixed here at the middle school, including the roof – it's a little bit leaky," O’Reilly adds.

Principal William Traber underscores the educational value of the referendum, emphasizing how it provides teachers with opportunities to engage students in real-world lessons.

It's not just about fixing leaky roofs; it's about instilling a sense of pride and connection to their school.

For these students, it’s not just about fixing leaky roofs, it’s about school pride and connection to their community.

Tessa Bahr, an 8th grader at Shawano Community Middle School, expresses her excitement about contributing to her community.

"This is so cool how we get to help the community because this is like a huge thing for the schools," says Student Success class member, Tessa Bahr.

“I think it helps the community and it’s just really important to me because I get to be part of something bitter than just videos I get to help make a difference in the community.

According to the district, there won't be an increase in costs for taxpayers due to previous referendums' debts falling off. The community will cast their votes on April 2nd.

You can watch the student’s referendum special broadcast here. You can also view today’s latest news broadcast here.