HARLINGEN — Each were in a dead heat.
Their words, their eye contact and enthusiasm — the whole presentation — moved swiftly toward the 20-second finish line.
It was all about their school, and the Zavala Elementary fourth graders knew just how to get the message across to their viewers. After all, as members of the Zavala Owls Weekly News, they’ve been honing their broadcasting skills for quite some time.
So when the opportunity came to prepare a two-minute video for a contest, they were up to the challenge.
“We talked about how great our school is and why it’s exceptional,” said Luis Rodriguez, 9.
“Each of us was assigned a topic about that,” added Mia Coronado, 9. “I talked about how exceptional Zavala is because of its academics, that we are an Apple Connected school.”
Their diligence and industrious nature paid off, with the project winning $5,000 for first place in the event sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards. The contest was open to all Texas elementary and secondary public school students. Winners were selected for elementary school, middle/junior high school, and high school. Prize money will be used for campus needs.
Zavala teachers were overjoyed to learn of the childrens’ success.
“I am very proud of them,” said Adriana Rodriguez, science lab and news cast paraprofessional.
“We do a program every Friday and every week they get better,” Rodriguez said.
Sandra Villarreal, fourth grade teacher, likewise expressed pride in the students and gratitude for their work. The prize money will definitely come in handy at the school.
“It all goes back to the students,” she said.
The young newscasters talked excitedly about their project.
Carson Garza’s segment was about Zavala’s involvement in community service. The school had held a career day in which judges, physicians, school board members and other professionals visited the school. So much to tell — and only 20 seconds to tell it.
He nodded with a familiar frustration, the kind even grandfathers can relate to.
“It was a little hard for me,” said Carson, 10.
But, he did it. Each member of the team took the microphone and spoke for 20 seconds about their school, and they turned hours of work into a two minute news show. And the rest is history.
Ariana Villarreal, 10
Carson Garza, 10
Cesar Guerrero, 9
Luis Rodriguez, 9
Mia Coronado, 9
Sarah Gutierrez, 10