By Chad Dryden
They might be products of the MTV generation, but students at Stanton Middle School in Kent still want their radio.
The sixth- and seventh-graders in Stantons enrichment program are in the process of raising money to bring a low-frequency radio station to the school. Enrichment specialists Kathy Frazier and Dan Young believe the possibilities for such a communication device are endless.
We both thought there would be so many opportunities where teachers could use it for class or parents could use it picking up students before and after school, Frazier said.
And thats not to mention the music, old time radio show and other programs the students have planned for the station.
Of course, none of that will happen unless the students raise the $3,000 needed to purchase an FM digital transmitter system. That responsibility lies in the hands of the projects leadership team, which currently is brainstorming ways to cover the one-time cost for the transmitter.
Young and Frazier first got the idea for the radio station last year when they attended the National Association for Gifted Children Conference in Cincinnati. Direct Broadcast Systems, the Texas-based company that sells the FM transmitter Stanton hopes to purchase, had a display at the conference advertising the unit, which is approved by the Federal Communications Commission.
Young and Frazier were struck by the consoles ease of use: it allows for pre-recorded or live broadcasts that reach a one-mile radius and does not require a broadcasting license. Young, who was working for a different school district at the time, mentioned the idea to Frazier when he came to Stanton in the fall.
We wanted to put together a group of students to come up with ideas for how to get a radio station going here, he said.
To do this, Young and Frazier created a problem-based learning program where the enrichment students develop the project while learning about leadership and the creative problem solving process.
Responsibilities are divided into three teams of students: leadership, whose job is to bring the radio equipment to the school; programming, which will develop ways for students and teachers to use the radio; and broadcasting, which will produce the stations first trained group of disc jockeys.
Right now the focus is on fund-raising. The leadership team, whose key responsibility is to generate the $3,000, already has several plans in the works, including a letter it will send to local merchants pitching advertising and business partnerships. The students also will hold a Willy Wonka-esque golden sucker raffle within the school.
Though working hard the three teams meet during their lunch period the students are having fun doing it. Seventh-grader Joel Hawksley, who wants to extend the stations low-frequency range by creating a Web site to broadcast over the Internet, has found an extracurricular activity that satisfies his interest in communications.
I like doing audio mixing so it appeals to me, he said. And Im just interested in being on the radio.
Sixth-grader Kristin Willson enjoys the fact she gets to participate in something as a newcomer to the school.
The teachers, meanwhile, are impressed with the students dedication to the project.
To make a tax-deductible donation to the project, send a check payable to Stanton Middle School to: Kathy Frazier/Dan Young, Stanton Middle School, 1175 Hudson Road, Kent 44240. For more information, call Frazier or Young at (330) 673-6693.
Stanton Middle School enrichment specialist Dan Young, standing, talks radio with enrichment students, clockwise from bottom left, Kristin Willson, Zackary Jewell, Michael Trivelli, Tara Thompson, Iryna Bodnar and Jamie Whyte. The students currently are raising money to bring a low-frequency radio station to the school.