TJ-TV at Toby Johnson Middle School is a student-run television station that produces a live news show called First Things 1st. Students arrive at school every morning at 7am to produce the show that is broadcast four days a week. Students in TJ-TV learn writing, editing, collaboration, leadership, and time-management skills. They also learn about broadcast news, reporting, videography, composition and deadlines. These skills will help them succeed in every aspect of their future.
One of the most unique features of TJ-TV is that it is created, produced and run by 12 and 13-year-old middle school students who elect to participate in the program. These students are able to create content that is on the well beyond their grade level. TJ-TV has also created a great relationship with Franklin High School which allows the middle school students to transition seamlessly into the high school program and continue their passion for media.
Dana La Chapelle
Mrs. La Chapelle is truly a trail-blazer in the world of media production teaching. She started with an empty classroom, and, through grit and determination, has turned her room into a full production studio where her middle school students create incredible videos that are consistently recognized at the SEVA Awards. Each year, Mrs. La Chapelle has a unique group of students who bring their own levels of energy, commitment, and talent to the process of storytelling. Mrs. La Chapelle is able to help every student tell their own stories to inform, educate, entertain, and connect with their audience.
When you are in Mrs. La Chapelle’s classroom it is hard to believe that you are surrounded by middle school students. She has created an atmosphere where the students feel empowered to create media with minimal teacher oversight and are able to perform skills that many much older students are still learning. Mrs. La Chapelle, leads the way and helps shape the SEVA program as a whole. Her knowledge, experience and passion are amazing in and of themselves, but her willingness to share and desire to help others is what makes her truly unique and such an important part of the SEVA program.