CHS Wired Receives Special Award from Wyoming Department of Education
Written by Andrew-Rossi on November 4, 2020
The student-led program has been recognized for its digital achievements in the 2020 K-12 Digital Learning Innovations Awards.
The awards are intended “to honor leaders and educators to create cultures of innovation and forward-thinking through effective uses of digital, 21st-century technologies to engage students while empowering them in owning their learning.”
CHS Wired has received the “Student Voices” award – “Students and Teachers Working Together” – a relatively new addition to the annual slate.
Erika Quick is the advisor of the high school’s Broadcast Journalism program for the past seven years, but the primarily student-led CHS Wired started over two decades ago as a career and technical education program at Cody High School.
Quick emphasizes her role as the advisor and teacher, not the director. The class – held daily at the high school – is entirely driven by the interests and professionalism of her students.
“I like the spotlight being on them,” Quick said. “The award is totally a reflection of their work. They’ve made these decisions and picked those stories. When I look at that award, I really see it as being for the students and it makes me prouder in that regard.”
Quick has worked to get the students more recognition and validation on a national scale. Their work has been awarded by several nationally recognized programs like the National Scholastic Press Association and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In the process, CHS Wired has itself become nationally recognized thru these and other organizations.
During a recent competition of the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences – which includes Idaho, Oregon, and several other states – CHS Wired won five “pillars,” the equivalent of a student Emmy.
With all these national accolades, Quick says there is a special validation in receiving this award from the Wyoming Department of Education.
She cites the Cody School District as one of CHS Wired’s greatest allies. They consistently let the group operate without censorship or prior review. It allows her students to learn, take risks, make decisions – and mistakes – without fear of retribution, giving them “an authentic voice” in their content.
“In Wyoming, journalism is a challenge. If I can teach these kids how to create while being ethically sound, teaching them objectivity and fairness, keeping the foundations that have never really changed. The award validates their voice, and that journalism is still important. In our school, we have a saying: what students say matters. The school has always followed that.”
CHS Wired creates several 25-27-minute programs during a regular school year. The atmosphere is that of a professional newsroom environment, with the students acting as directors, editors, writers, and interviewers. They are in complete control of their content, from beginning to end.
Quick says the Student Voices award is a “wonderful honor” that rightfully recognizes the hard work of the students that have made CHS Wired the professional, nationally recognized program it is today.