Wednesday, January 30, 2008

KMH: Band of Vultures

Today KMH: Patriot News got an opportunity to present our program at the Show Me TechKnowledge Student Showcase. This is a type of lobbying event put on my MoreNet. They are the people that provide all of the Internet connections for schools. Basically they want to show what great things the students of Missouri are doing with technology.

We left this morning at 4:30. Yes, you read that right. We left liberty at 4:30 in the morning. A huge thanks to the parents for getting the kids there. We also traveled with the broadcast students from South Valley Junior High. We set up our booth in Jefferson City at about 8:00. We had a quick breakfast in Boonville at McDonalds. I have to say, our booth looked really good. We had a big display board, an “on air” light, a clacker, a stack of handouts and business cards as well as a laptop with our broadcast playing on a loop all day long. Last week the kids began working on a little speech that they could use to tell people. We were so busy getting other stuff ready to go that the speech got put off and only got finalized last Thursday. On the bus on the way down, the kids started practicing and almost immediately after getting set up we had people coming to our booth to see our project. After a short bout with the giggles, the student did amazing. I cannot tell you how proud I was of them. We were keeping tally marks to keep track of how many people the kids talked to (31 was the winner and a total of over 94 people that we told about KMH). I stressed with the kids that they had to stop people to tell them about our program. They did AWESOME! They were actually nicknamed the “vultures” because anyone that came within 50 yards got tracked down and told about KMH. There is no way that I could have gone up to adults – much less state senators and representatives – and started a conversation but the kids did it and it was really cool to see them get more confident all day long.

There were several highlights of the day. Highlight #1: Representative Tim Flook stopped by the booth (he is a former Manor Hill student) and asked us if we wanted to go into the chamber for the opening of the House of Representatives. Representative Flook then got the attention of the speaker of the house and introduced us to everyone and they gave us a big round of applause. Our names will actually be in the official register. I’m not sure how to find that online but if you know, please email me. Representative Flook then stopped back by the booth to do a mini interview. Highlight #2: Representative Holsman took the time to stop by the booth for a photo op with the kids and a quick interview. I have bad feeling that the audio from that interview may not turn out but he was really great with the kids.
Highlight #3: Seeing the kids really embrace the roll of representing Manor Hill, and Liberty Public Schools and do a phenomenal job with it.

Highlight #4: Senator Luanne Ridgeway stopped by our booth and talked to the kids and did a mini interview. When she was done she asked us if we had a couple of minutes. We of course said yes. She said, “follow me. The Senate isn’t in session right now lets go onto the floor and take a look around. Bring your cameras.” So we followed her down onto the floor of the Senate and got to go to her desk and she gave a great guided tour of the room. This was way cool. I had never been in the Senate Chamber before and to be on the floor was really a great experience for the kids. Then she said follow me again and took the kids up to the podium at the front of the room. Podium is the wrong word, it is really the dais. She explained how to preside over the senate. She then banged the gavel and took several pictures with the kids. She then took us over to the House floor and showed us around there, and finally took us into the Thomas Hart Benton mural room. She was fantastic with the kids.
Highlight #5: Our final stop of the day was at Central Dairy. If you have ever been to Jefferson City and have not stopped at Central Dairy, you haven’t really been to Jefferson City. They have the best ice cream in the world. My dad used to take my brother and I there when we were kids and we would get a banana split that was larger than my head. We all got a large ice cream (4 scoops) and it only cost $10!
Overall it was a great trip for everyone. We got a lot of compliments from everyone not only about KMH but also about how well the kids did. Almost every adult that talked to the kids came up to me and told me what a good job they did.

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