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The City Journals

Students create Mustang Media for West Lake STEM Junior High

Jan 30, 2019 11:53AM ● By Lindsey Baxter

Two students on air for Mustang Media. (Courtesy of Tyler Howe)

By Lindsey Baxter | [email protected]

Watch any episode of Mustang Media at West Lake STEM Junior High and you’ll know the students work hard to make this an engaging show for their peers, parents and teachers. Each episode starts with a welcome and tells what week it is, followed by The Pledge of Allegiance and the events for the week.

Tyler Howe, principal of West Lake STEM Junior High, is proud of his school and students. 

“West Lake was starting a new chapter in its rich history as the first junior high STEM school in Granite School District. This included a remodel of the building and many new teachers and students to the school. With the start of this new chapter, we felt it very appropriate to have a highly dynamic communication medium that could be shared with teachers, students, and parents via all possible social media channels. Mustang Media was born,” Howe said.

Mustang Media launched in August 2015 and just celebrated its 100th episode. It is aired every week during the school year. 

“Mustang Media drives the culture of the school,” Howe said. “Teachers and students get a chance to see many of the other instructional practices and activities taking place throughout the building on a weekly basis.”

“In a profession that trends to teacher or classroom isolation, this is essential,” he continued. “By being able to see the best of what we are capable of on a regular basis, a new standard is established. Teachers, students, and parents consistently live up to and surpass that standard, establishing a new standard. It becomes an endless cycle of pushing the boundaries of our individual personal best. The show is meant to be informational, inspirational, humorous, student-driven, and plain fun.” 

Both teachers and students work together to pick the topics that will be on the show. The principal writes a general script of what needs to be addressed each week, but the students execute and expand upon that script. 

Howe said, “The anchors and editors of Mustang Media are our student body officers. However, most students make it on Mustang Media at least a few times each year. Students are constantly being interviewed in the lunchroom or being highlighted with their learning activities in the classroom.” 

All students involved with Mustang Media take turns with each role. Some students man the camera, act as anchors, edit the footage, and so forth.

Mabel Suarez, an eighth-grader attending West Lake, has been doing Mustang Media for two years. “It is such a great experience. My favorite thing about being on Mustang Media is that many people know me because they have seen me on Mustang Media, and will allow me to meet other great students that are at my school. Also, being on Mustang Media helps me to increase my knowledge about being on camera and being social around others,” Mabel said.

Howe said he has seen many positive impacts from the show being on air.

“Students seem to engage more into what is celebrated on Mustang Media. They love being highlighted or featured on the show, so we get more and more positive performances (academic and other) from our students because that is what’s featured on Mustang Media,” Howe said.

Mabel treats her role seriously, recognizing what it does for the student body.

“When being a part of Mustang Media there are standards that have to be met, and it is important for us to meet the standard that our advisors have set for us, because being the person that informs other students about important information is very motivating for us to know that we have students who count on us for information that they may need,” Mabel says.

To watch and support Mustang Media, visit the school website at schools.graniteschools.org/westlakestem.