Billy Keeney

Students film the items on display at the Southgate Street School.

What you missed on July 25

Students explored an old schoolhouse in Newport, interviewing key experts and sources for a story

July 25, 2019

Students hopped off the bus at the Southgate Street School, a historical marker in Newport, Kentucky designated to preserve an all-black school from 1866.

One by one, the students walked on the red, eroded brick road. The sun peeked over the neighboring building, creating a pocket of shade where students sought refuge from the relentless sun.

A tiny, brick house—with a garden nestled in the front yard filled with vibrant wildflowers—greeted the students, as they eagerly unpacked their cameras, hoping to capture the moment.

A cardinal sat in a tree to the left of the house, chirping in rhythm with the low hum of the bus’ engine.

The students gathered their equipment and, one by one, scuffled their way into the wooden door frame to the schoolhouse, not passing a chance to sign the guest book inside. 

The aged, wooden floor came to life with creaks as youthful steps crossed the room.

The room was filled with mementos from Newport’s past: playing cards, poker chips and books. The far wall was lined with compact school desks that sat underneath long and narrow windows covered in shades, only allowing a fraction of light to spill into the room. 

More footsteps scuffled into the next room, as the students sat with their friends at tables in a crowded room; they prepared themselves for a mock press conference with Scott Clark, Newport’s Historic Preservation Officer. 

“Does anyone have any questions?” Clark asked. 

He looked into the crowd of students, searching for a raised hand. 

After a minute, he found one. 

“How is the school different now than it was before?” Zoey D. asked, breaking the silence. 

Soon after, questions poured in, as hands eagerly shot up, wanting answers of their own. 

Once all the sources introduced themselves, the crowd dispersed into smaller groups throughout the schoolhouse.

Some students spoke with Madeline Filamonov, who painted murals outside the schoolhouse, while others interviewed historians about the history of the school.

Mentors floated from group to group, making sure everything was going smoothly—but never stayed for long, allowing the students to lead their own groups. 

One hour passed, then two. Students, cheery-eyed, packed up their gear and, once again, scuffled out of the little schoolhouse onto the brick road to board the bus. 

Once back at NKU, students were quick to edit their videos, text stories, photos and social media posts. The rest of the day was spent completing any unfinished projects and getting feedback from the media professionals and mentors.

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