Students in radio station operations room: Top (L-R): 13-year-old Ethan, 15-year-old Jordon and host Howard Word. Bottom (L-R): 9-year-old Mikayla, 6-year-old Aniya, 10-year-old Luke and 6-year-old Gabriel.

By Franka Potter

On October 5, five young residents from the FishHawk and Riverview areas were invited guests of the Youth Empowerment Segment (Y.E.S.) on WTMP 97.5 FM radio, hosted by Howard Word.

The guest panel consisted of 15-year-old Jordon, a Newsome High School 10th grader; 13-year-old Ethan, a Franklin Middle Magnet School eighth grader; 10-year-old Luke, a FishHawk Creek Elementary School fifth grade; 9-year-old Mikayla, a fourth grader at Rampello K-8; and twins Gabriel and Aniya, first graders at FishHawk Creek Elementary.

Word introduced the program and gave the children an opportunity to state their names, schools and something interesting about themselves. The children expressed they enjoyed extracurricular activities like basketball and the arts, and they were all very excited to be there.

After brief icebreakers, the host and several live callers began to interview the children. The questions ranged from, “Do you feel testing taking is necessary, and why? Is social media affecting them at school? Is bullying an issue for them at school, and how safe do they feel at school?” They were also asked, “If they had the power to change anything within the school system, what would it be?”

Each child was given an opportunity to provide their answers. Some of the more popular answers were, “They all felt test-taking was very important as it highlights strengths and weakness and provided information for educators. The children also expressed that they had not been bullied at their schools and they all felt safe.”

The older children said that, “Social media is very important to school life and they wished it was not so important and they wished more focus was placed on career-targeted college prep. The younger ones expressed they were enjoying school very much; they were not allowed to have cell phones, so social media was not an issue for them yet, and the youngest group expressed they felt safe at school as police officers are always there, and by the age of 12 they are looking forward to having a cell phone.”

The event ended with a tour of the radio station and the control rooms. The children met other employees of the radio station and were able to ask questions and learn about career opportunities that are available within the field of radio broadcasting.