Young students going to ‘Penns’ as commentators
BY LUKE DOUGLAS Senior staff reporter
Sunday, April 08, 2012
EIGHT young students, five of them from Allman Town Primary School in Kingston, are currently involved in an exciting project that will have them do commentary from the annual Penn Relays in Philadelphia, United States for an Internet radio station.
The students, whose ages range from seven to 13 years, are being trained online in basic radio presentation skills such as announcing, script reading and interviewing by Orlando ‘Uncle Lanze’ Dillon, founder and chairman of KiDz HuB Media Network in New Jersey.
Kandi-Lee Crooks-Smith, principal of Allman Town Primary, said the students selected from her school were recommended by teachers.
“Some of them have displayed leadership skills, a good command of the English language, and participated in drama and other activities,” she told the Jamaica Observer. “One student is not a very good public speaker but works well behind the scenes, helping and prompting the other children.”
for over a month the students have been meeting in the computer lab at Allman Town Primary. Yesterday, they talked live with Dillon via the Internet.
Making the connection in Jamaica with the help of volunteers is Uncle Lanze’s 13-year-old nephew Joshua Dillon, the eldest of the students in the project.
“I am basically in charge of making everything flow. I am the point person to get any information off the Internet to the other students and to explain anything they don’t understand,” said the Campion College second-former who has hosted a programme called Joshua’s Corner on Kidz Hub Radio for the past two years.
The youngest participant, Jo-Nathan Smith, said he feels good to be in the project because of how much he has learned. “It helps me to catch up with even the 11-year-olds,” said the student of St Theresa Prep, who is also Crooks-Smith’s son.
Grade six students at Allman Town Primary Oshene Gayle, Keneshedo Samuda, Inzingah McCarthy and Kimani Thompson said rather than hurting their preparation for the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) the project actually helped.
“It helped me with my favourite subject — Social Studies — because I got to explore new things, interview people and learn a little bit about them,” said Gayle.
McCarthy chimed in: “This project has helped to build my self-esteem and showcase my talent in public speaking.”
Fifth-grader Atalia Matthews learned a lot about Jamaica’s athletes through the project. “Maybe when I grow up I can be a journalist or a commentator,” she reasoned.
Absent yesterday was Nashieka Lewis of Minto All-Age in St Thomas.
The children will be accompanied to the relays by Crooks-Smith; her husband Oneil Smith, a former Jamaica representative in track and field and swimming; two senior teachers at Allman Town Primary; a clerical assistant who is also a trained practical nurse; and sportscaster Donald Oliver from CVM TV, who volunteered as a trainer.
A major challenge for the historic venture is funding, and they are seeking $600,000 from donors, mostly to cover airfare. The US-based not-for-profit organisation Team Jamaica Bickle has kindly agreed to cover food and transportation in Philadelphia.
“This is part of the Jamaica 50 celebrations so we are asking for corporate Jamaica to help put our kids out there,” Crooks-Smith said. The group is scheduled to leave on April 23 for the April 26-28 event which attracts more than 150,000 spectators and will see athletes from more than 60 countries, including Jamaica, vying for track supremacy.
“I have asked the parents to contribute and I know they will do so,” she said.
“One of the good things that has already come out of this is that seven of the children who never had passports will have them now. Amazingly three had no birth certificates before,” Crooks-Smith said.
She also expressed thanks to the students, their parents and volunteers for their dedication and support of the project, and to her teachers who have given up their evenings and weekends to make it a success.
Several radio stations in the Caribbean, including here in Jamaica, have committed to carrying segments from Kidz Hub Radio from the Penn Relays, Orlando Dillon disclosed.
We knew Kandi Burrus was getting her own spinoff series on Bravo TV but details of the show were pretty slim. now, “The Kandi Factory” is ready to make its debut and Bravo has given viewers a sneak peak of what’s to come this season.
From the first look, the show has sort of an MTV “Made” feel. Each week, Kandi will be working with two wanna-be pop stars to whip them into shape vocally and she’ll also lend her choreographer and production team to help make these aspiring singers into acts with real talent. The inspiration for the show seems to be Kim Zolciak’s rise to “fame” with Kandi’s “Don’t be Tardy for the Party” track, so if she can make Kim work, she ought to be able to help anybody.
The show is set to debut March 4 at 10pm on Bravo. Check out the Sneak Peak of The Kandi Factory and tell us what you think. will you tune in on Sundays?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!