South High School's Falcon Report has shown true resilience and dedication during the Covid-19 pandemic and associated school closure. Despite being separated and restricted to their homes, students in this news broadcast club are going strong in their mission to sustain their service to the school community. They have continued their weekly shows throughout March and April without skipping a beat.
According to club adviser and teacher Ross Lipsky, the members are motivated by the fact that the club has never missed a Friday show since its 2002 inception. In 2012, it aired two broadcasts on back-to-back days upon returning to school after Superstorm Sandy.
The group anticipated the present school disruption and moved swiftly to carry out tasks for its March 13 show in advance. The club’s leadership team prepared the March 20 based on developing circumstances. It then rolled out a larger plan to gather future footage from afar through interviews conducted over Zoom and Microsoft Teams and sought out content from guest contributors. The club strives to meet three goals while the weekly shows continue — unite, inform and uplift the South community. Now, the group meets virtually on a weekly basis, and individuals are working on each show’s production seven days a week.
The Falcon Report has featured updates and announcements about remote learning, student achievements in competitions, tips for staying focused while studying at home, ways to keep music skills sharp, athletes’ efforts to stay fit without school sports, weather forecasts and many other topics. Broadcasts also emphasize the importance of staying healthy and adhering to current safety guidelines. The April 3 broadcast was a special edition in which Principal Maureen Henry and faculty members shared messages of unity and hope with the community.
Mr. Lipsky attributes the show’s successful continuity to the students and their eagerness to step up during this time. Aidan Andres, the first sophomore to serve as Falcon Report President, has coordinated 4-5 stories a week, acted as head anchor, spoken to the lead reporters, supplemented the gathering of footage and kept a big-picture game plan. Connor Menzies is responsible for writing and revising copy, ensuring that the facts are accurate and managing all writing as New Producer. Manmeet Singh and Technical Director/Treasurer Hameed Abdul have taken the reins on editing. Vice President Rebecca Possidel, and Executive Board members Maya Alschuler-Pierce, Isabella Secaira-Cotto, Oliver Trzcinski, Dash Alschuler-Pierce, Colin Chen and Kiefer Villarreiz, have led their departments and project teams smoothly and diligently as well.
“We miss being able to gather in our studio and collaborate in person, but technology allows editing to still be a group effort,” Mr. Lipsky said. “We have gotten a lot of encouragement and positive feedback from others that our efforts are so far successful, and we will keep up with our mission!”
The Falcon Report has its own YouTube channel, where all shows during the school closure can be accessed.