Towards the back of the Westfield High School ninth-grade campus, just over the school’s practice gym, is a television studio with a setup that could rival some professional stations.
There is a green screen wall, a trio of cameras with teleprompters attached, a sound deck, a director’s booth, and more. This is KWHS News, and Jerry Ledoux is staring steadily into the camera, ready for the cameras to roll.
But that wasn’t always the case.
“At first, I didn’t even want to do this, to be honest,” Ledoux, a senior at Westfield, said. “But last summer, I was talking to my mom about it. She was saying that it’s my senior year and I should have fun. I remember at the football games, there would be cameramen on the floor. And it intrigued me. So I gave it a try.”
Ledoux has been anchoring the KWHS News since the beginning of this school year, his bright smile and confident delivery a constant fixture of the Friday morning newscast. Though this is only the second year of the program, it has quickly become a vital part of how Westfield students and teachers stay informed and spread information.
Every week looks similar. On Mondays, students figure out what needs to be covered – whether it is sports, arts rehearsals, application deadlines, Student of the Week nominations, and everything in between. Then, students spread out across the sprawling campus to get interviews and additional footage. As the week progresses, the editing of individual stories takes center stage as students prepare for the final piece, the one-take newscast shot just before every Friday’s airdate.
It’s a full program, with curriculum for students that begins in middle school or 9th grade, and carries them through their senior year. Though the classes do not lead to any degrees or certifications, Rob Munoz, who heads up the program at Westfield, hopes to get that secured one day soon.
That is just one of his plans for the program, one he thinks could be beneficial for all Spring ISD schools.
“I would like to take this program across the district. It removes that obstacle of it not being on their campus, and makes it available to every student,” Munoz said. “I think there are some kids that are just missing out, through no fault of their own. It would be great to reach those students, too.”
For Ledoux, what started out as a way to have fun his senior year has turned into a career path. He is headed to Prairie View A&M University in the fall to major in journalism and psychology.
“I plan on going into newscasting straight out of college, and just going from there,” he said.
Though his interest in journalism may be new, his exposure to the field has been a part of his life for nearly five years.
“In 2017, [Chauncy Glover] started a mentoring group for young minority boys. I joined that,” Ledoux said. “He just became my mentor, and we’ve kept in contact through all of this.”
Glover is an anchor and reporter for ABC 13 News in Houston, and a three-time Emmy Award winning journalist. His mentoring program, “The Chauncy Glover Project,” started during his time in Detroit, and has been picked up in Houston. It is a hands-on, extensive mentoring program catered to boys in the 7th through 12th grades. It focuses on dressing for success, manhood, etiquette, college readiness, tutoring, public speaking, community service and more.
“He gives me his honest opinion on how I do,” Ledoux said about Glover. “He gives me tips on what to do. He tells me if it’s good or bad, or what to do to get better at it all.”
As for Munoz, he loves seeing students like Ledoux succeed and even find a new idea for his future.
“My philosophy is don’t do anything you don’t love,” Munoz said. “I did a lot of things I didn’t enjoy doing. And now to be in a place where I can put these students on a path to something they enjoy from the very beginning, that is amazing. It’s great to think that we created something of value here, and many kids are now being impacted because of it.”