Archive for Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Students offered peek at C-SPAN bus

September 1, 2004

One of two C-SPAN buses made a stop at THS to give social studies students a glimpse of how the C-SPAN networks operate, along with a closer look at government.

Tonganoxie students sat in one of the same buses that former President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush -- when he was the Texas governor -- lounged in for interviews.

Last Friday, the bus was parked northwest of Tonganoxie High School.

One of two C-SPAN buses made a stop at THS to give social studies students a glimpse of how the C-SPAN networks operate, along with a closer look at government.

"I thought it was excellent," said John Barnes, a THS social studies instructor. "I thought it was very educational for the kids.

With adjectives such as "cool," "neat" and "awesome," students told Barnes they enjoyed the mobile educational tool.

The C-SPAN School Bus was created in 1993. A second bus was established Jan. 1, 1996. The buses, which travel more than 60,000 annually, reach almost 400 communities each year. The buses run 11 months each year.

Inside the bus, students found two HDTV plasma screen monitors as they lounged on a long couch. The bus also had television cameras capable of off-bus production, along with other production amenities.

With about 11 or 12 students in the bus at a time, C-SPAN representatives gave 20-minute presentations about the bus and the C-SPAN networks themselves.

"That's like the ideal time," said Heath Neiderer, who originally is from Pennsylvania.

A finance major at Pennsylvania college, Neiderer originally became associated with C-SPAN through its finance office.

Later, however, he found a niche with traveling to schools, universities and libraries discussing how C-SPAN operates.

"I fell in love with this job," Neiderer said.

Meg Steele, C-SPAN education manager, also presented to students Friday afternoon in Tonganoxie. The bus also stopped Friday morning at Basehor-Linwood High School.

Funded by the cable industry, C-SPAN is offered as a public service. C-SPAN, C-SPAN 2 and C-SPAN 3 provide balanced and commercial-free coverage of American government and politics.

The trip to Tonganoxie and Basehor was sponsored locally through Sunflower Broadband, a Lawrence-based cable company owned by the World Company of Lawrence, which also owns The Mirror

Barnes said he received a call the week before school started inquiring whether he would be interested in the bus coming through Tonganoxie.

"It sounded like a neat thing to comp to our school," Barnes said. "That's a national thing. We see it on TV every day.

"I thought that was neat that they wanted to come to our town."

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