State title winning TV News entry from Carroll High School’s speech department includes (front, from left) Bekah Pudenz, Shelby Wenck, Natalie Roberts, (second row) Daric Teske, Colton Thompson, Haste Walsh, Hunter Schaal, (third row) volunteer assistant coach Levi Horsley, Dan Benson and Chandler Hagen. Not pictured are Allison Baumhover, Elizabeth Boell and coach Bill Polking.
State title winning TV News entry from Carroll High School’s speech department includes (front, from left) Bekah Pudenz, Shelby Wenck, Natalie Roberts, (second row) Daric Teske, Colton Thompson, Haste Walsh, Hunter Schaal, (third row) volunteer assistant coach Levi Horsley, Dan Benson and Chandler Hagen. Not pictured are Allison Baumhover, Elizabeth Boell and coach Bill Polking.
February 28, 2014

With a few changes in cast but the same dededication to excellence, Carroll High School's "Ten at Ten Live" is No. 1 again.

CHS's entry in the TV-news category in the Iowa High School Speech Association Large-Group All-State Festival last Saturday in Ames reigned as state champion for the second straight year, receiving a Critic's Choice Award.

CHS volunteer speech coach Dr. John Carroll, who works specifically with TV news, raves about the latest state championship and points out it's another chapter in a tradition of the school's success in this category.

"These kids did a phenomenal job this year again," Carroll said. "It's just absolutely amazing the stuff they did to make this happen - their performance on camera and the technical side."

The accomplishment means CHS gets to keep for another year the banner it received in this contest category in 2013.

That puts the school in rare company. Since the Speech Association began the TV-news category in 1987, only four schools have won repeat titles - Dubuque Senior in 1988 and '89, Sioux City Heelan in 1990 and '91, Grinnell from 2005 through '09, and now Carroll.

CHS also won this award in 2001, and Dr. Carroll comments, "There were a lot of good (CHS teams) in the years in between there."

Speech Association executive director Craig Ihnen commented in an interview this week, "This is a wonderful accomplishment by Carroll. They should be very, very proud. The Critic's Choice, given by a professional in the field, is quite an accomplishment. And it's an amazing accomplishment by Carroll to be named two years in a row. They should be very proud of that."

The CHS "Ten at Ten Live" team members and the number of years in which they've participated in the event are: Daric Teske, producer (first year); Haste Walsh, anchor (first year); Bekah Pudenz, anchor (second year); Natalie Roberts, special feature (second year); Hunter Schaal, special correspondent (first year); Shelby Wenck, weather (first year); Colton Thompson, sports (second year); Chandler Hagen, commercial (first year); Allison Baumhover, commercial (first year); Elizabeth Boell, commercial (first year); Dan Benson, technical assistant (second year). William Polking is large-group speech coach. Volunteer coaches are Dr. Carroll and Levi Horsley, a 2011 CHS graduate who participated in TV news.

In this category, teams must create a 12- to 15-minute video broadcast featuring international, national and regional stories, an original special feature, sports, weather and an original commercial.

On the road to All-State Festival, teams advance through district and state competitions and can make improvements to their broadcasts from contest to contest.

"The kids didn't stop working on it," Dr. Carroll said. "They improved it from district to state. ... You can make changes based on what the critics or judges told you they liked or didn't like. The kids took it to heart, they went back to work, saw what had to be fixed and fixed it."

At All-State, the CHS broadcast came in at 14 minutes and 52 seconds and was packed with stories from the very serious - a super typhoon that devastated the Philippines, a deadly car chase and shooting in Ames - to the light-hearted - Memphis city workers painting road lines over a pile of leaves and brush instead of stopping to remove the debris.

CHS students put in extra effort and extra miles to make "Ten at Ten Live" the best.

Carroll said, "Everybody on camera and behind the cameras was just unbelievably talented, willing to do the work and come back and redo parts."

He recalled spending a frigid day in Ames with students filming for the report on the police chase that ended fatally at the Iowa State University campus.

"We had to go inside the library and warm up so our fingers could continue to operate the cameras," he said.

In addition, for that story, the students received permission from KCCI-TV in Des Moines to use short clips from that station's live video of the incident for their "Ten at Ten Live" report.

"We credited KCCI and used a couple of seconds here and there of the actual events," Carroll said.

For the original special feature, Roberts reported on the Freedom Rock at the Sac County Courthouse in Sac City and a mural at the Veterans Affairs medical clinic at St. Anthony Regional Hospital painted by Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II. Roberts reported and the students filmed at both sites.

In their commercial, the students turned songs lyrics by Rihanna from "we found love in a hopeless place" to "we found love in a Hostess cake."

During an interview this week, students talked about their contest experience. Demonstrating true team spirit, the production staff and on-air talent generously traded compliments. They couldn't have done it without each other.

Students heaped praise on producer Teske for the countless hours he spent editing video, giving it high-quality, special touches. Everybody can read the stories, they said, but Teske's work made it stand out.

For his part, Dr. Carroll said of Teske, "He managed the technical side of filming and editing and did an outstanding job. ... You need a producer who's the glue, and he was the glue so that we could go the distance on the technical end of it."

In turn, Teske said of the fellow "Ten at Ten Live" news team, "I thought we had the best speaking on TV. I can do only so much editing, but I had good footage to work with. On several of the newscasts (by other schools) they talked really fast, like they were rushing through it. I think that might have been why they thought ours was so good."

The students also expressed appreciation for the support they received - such as equipment lent by Sound and Service, Niceswanger Photography and Carroll County Engineer's office, as well as a high-definition camera purchased a couple of years ago by the Tiger Booster Club.

Dr. Carroll praised Levi Horsley, a former CHS TV-news producer, for his volunteer work with the students.

"He did a great job advising the kids, showing them where to go to get what they needed, spending hours critiquing it, helping them make lists of what needed to be fixed, what the priorities were," Carroll said.

The students also cited the footsteps left by last year's producer, Chris Pudenz.

"Chris gave us a lot of stuff to use as templates, and we just changed a little bit," Teske said.

Dr. Carroll said of the finished product, "It was just unbelievable, a great one again. The kids have a strong tradition of stepping up and making it the best, better than you can imagine."

He added, "You see it and you say, 'Oh, my gosh. High school kids did this?'"

The 10 entries at All-State Festival in the TV news category were judged by Jason Parkin, a host of the "Great Day" program on KCWI-TV in Des Moines and former meteorologist at KCCI and WHO.

He said of judging the contest and the CHS students' work, "The schools in the competition vary in the quality of the equipment and software they're able to bring to the table, so I try to judge the quality of the anchors' and reporters' presentations foremost. Carroll's were rock solid. They also had creative commercials in their newscast."

This is the second time Parkin has served as a Critic's Choice judge, and he said, "The quality and production value of the students' presentations continue to improve. It's amazing what can be done nowadays at the high school level."

Parkin is a proponent of the TV-news category, saying, "Anything that strengthens a student's communication skills and, in this day and age, their ability to present information to a group or on camera is invaluable."