There are 10 children in the club, all sixth graders. For five years the club has recorded any number of special events, assembly programs, classroom activities and lesson plans.
"It's a video program. They supply all the equipment," said Lucille Wright, one of the program advisors.
"Microphones, video camera, editing equipment and now digital cameras and DVDs. We use it to produce videos in school."
Linda Chervenik is also an advisor.
There are 200 KWN clubs in the country. There is an application process and the clubs are required to produce one video per month. The "Panasonic Video Studio" includes four to five digital cameras, a digital editing deck, a super VHS video cassette recorder, a color monitor, microphones, headphones, tripods, video tapes, a student-teacher instruction manual, a specially made training tape, t-shirts, pens, and certificates of achievement. They also have an advisory staff if the school has any technical or other questions concerning the program.
This year, the KWN club submitted a video tape about the rainforest. They researched the rainforest and presented it as a news broadcast.
The video documented how the school system educates children about the rainforest.
"The whole point of the video is to show that kids really do care about the rainforest," said student Cynthia Costello, 12.
They showed a teacher explaining a lesson on the rain forest and staged a fundraising event where the children sold stuffed animals.
The kids agreed that their best scene was interviewing students and asking them questions about the rainforest. "We interviewed primary and intermediate kids about the rainforest," said student Melissa Sourbis, 12. "We asked them questions like 'What kind of animals are there?' Do you think there are rainforests in North America?' and 'How does the rainforest help us in everyday life?' "
The KWN crew also took a creative approach to delivering statistics with their staged weather report.
"We had a weatherman who was an on-site reporter down in the rainforest," said Wright. "He reported weather and said how much they get per year. It was humorous."
One of the challenges the kids encountered was when their original weatherman left at the last minute. "Joseph Fuardo came in at the last minute and did a great job," said student Dylan Caruso, 12.
The film was eight minutes long and was produced on a digital camera. They met every Thursday from 2:55 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., plus a few weekends for technical workshops and an occasional lunch hour.
The Huber Street KWN club was selected as a pilot school to test out the DVD equipment, including a recorder with editing capabilities, a camera that records directly onto a disk, a studio training manual to assist with equipment set up, an equipment survey and a burner. Panasonic only gave the equipment to 12 schools, including some in Japan, where Panasonic is based.
Huber Street looks forward to meeting one of the Japanese KWN clubs that will be visiting the town to be awarded the "Best International Video."
Panasonic holds a contest for the best video each year.
"They critique it for you whether or not you win," said Principal Pat Cocucci.
Last year Huber Street School was featured in a promotional video for the program, for which they were honored at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City.
Learning and doing
Students learned all aspects of video production, such as filming, editing, script writing, interviewing and storyboard writing. Student Courtney Piccini, 12, said she was nervous being in front of the camera, but it is getting easier with practice.
Cocucci said that the club fits into the school's core curriculum. "It improves listening skills, writing, organizing and speaking," said Cocucci. "You select themes in other curriculums to integrate into all areas of instruction, like science, math or social studies."