Randallstown High teacher Susan Ellerbee turns students into TV professionals

Its just a few minutes before the start of the WRHS newscast. Mics are being checked, camera shots are being set. And then they go live.

"Good Morning Randallstown High School!" Jaaven Middleton says to the camera.

WRHS has the look and feel of a news set. There is an anchor desk, cameras and a control room. And that's exactly how mass communications teacher Susan Ellerbee wants it to look.

"We are not a high school TV station. We are a TV station that just happens to be in a high school," she said.

Before Ellerbee started teaching at Randallstown, she spent years working in TV, producing newscasts, documentaries and specials for public affairs programs. She brings that experience, and an expectation of professionalism, to the classroom.

"I get students prepared for that real world and many of my students already know everything they need to know," she said.

Students enter the mass communications magnet program at Randallstown as freshmen. They learn how to produce a TV show and a radio show. They shoot, write and edit their own stories. The students also create publications, like prom magazines.

"At any point in time she is thinking of new and innovative ways to inspire, encourage and uplift, not only her students, but all the students here at Randallstown High School," said Aubrey Brown, the principal at Randallstown.

Ellerbee's classroom has a professional feel to it, but her students will say, being in her classroom is also like being part of a family.

"She's very humble once you get to know her," said Jaaven Middleton, a senior at the high school. "We just all have a good time, we communicate and we get things done."

"She really treats it like its a work environment," said Linnel Louden, also a senior. "Its just really fun and we all are really chill, its like a family environment."

Ellerbee always thought working in news was the most challenging job, until she got into teaching.

"I never knew as a teacher that it would be the most demanding and sometimes stressful job, but also the most rewarding job I've ever had in my life."

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