Hillman students to broadcast from finals

HILLMAN – Four Hillman High School broadcasting students will have a unique opportunity to visit Ford Field on Nov. 29, and announce the Division 4 high school football finals from the press box.

Sophomores Noah Allen, Bubba Banks and Kyle McLaren, and senior Mike Klein will be announcing the Michigan High School Athletic Association opener, play-by-play action, and adding color commentating while streaming out live audio via the MHSAA website during the game.

“The students auditioned through the Michigan Student Broadcast Foundation for the commentator positions,” teacher Erin Brege said. “They sent in audio auditions from previous volleyball and football games each student had announced.”

Sparky Nitchman, general manager at Michigan Interscholastic Connection, was a driving fource in getting the Hillman broadcasting students to Ford Field.

“According to Sparky, we’re the only school in Northeast Michigan going to Ford Field,” Brege said. “This is only the second year they have had student announcers for the finals game, and the first year for the field trip experience the rest of the class will be participating in.”

The entire broadcasting class will be accompanying the four announcers, and will get to tour the facility and see behind the scenes of the game. The class also will participate in a press conference after the game and have press passes for access to press events.

During their media class on Wednesday, Allen, Banks, McLaren and Klein were going through last year’s commentary of the finals game and reading through the different play-by-play and color commentary to get an idea of what the experience will be like.

“Once we learn which teams will be in the game, we go through and research their games and stats,” Klein said. “We learn about the players and study the games.”

Two of the four announcers do color commentating, one does an opener, and another handles the game play-by-play.

“Color is the stuff that happened in previous games,” Banks said. “It goes more in depth on the teams and their statistics.”

The relatively new broadcasting class has been busy covering games from volleyball to football and even community events, and with this additional opportunity, the students will have a learning experience straight from professionals in the field.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” McLaren said. “Not many people get this chance and this really highlights our program.”

Brege said she is grateful to the school board for encouraging and supporting the class, and allowing students to take part in this unique opportunity.

According to Brege, a lot of the students in the class have never been to Ford Field, and this trip will give them a bigger picture on what broadcasting as a career looks like from in the action.

“Going to the stadium and getting the perspective of the press will be a memorable and educational experience,” Brege said. “They have the opportunity to learn and be exposed to something more than I could ever do in the classroom.”

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at ngrulke@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.