The voices of Pirates Sports Net

Mikayla Bridges, Sports Reporter

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For every home football game this year, there has been a live stream available on Facebook and although you hear a lot about the players, you don’t learn much about the broadcasters.

These broadcasters are members of the Pirate Sports Network class offered at Pattonville High School. Under the instruction of Brian Heyman, they bring fans a high-quality experience every week.

In the second year of being offered to students, Heyman has already overseen upgrades for PSN, the class’ lovingly adored nickname.

“The students have professional grade equipment like you see on Fox Sports and ESPN,” Heyman said. “Thanks to the Pattonville Education Foundation, we were able to improve our sound from handheld microphones to over-the-ear broadcaster headsets.”

Now PSN has an ESPN-inspired logo, seven seniors enrolled in the class, and new equipment to improve the quality of everything they do.

Returnees Jorge Coronado and Brandon Clark loved the class so much that they came back for another year.

Clark remembers doing his first live football game broadcast last year.

“It was such a disaster that I stopped talking for the remainder of the first half.”

That was the first year of the Pirate Sports Network class, but it had an incredible season. As the Pirate football team won game-after-game on the journey to the state championship match-up against Staley in Columbia, Clark, Coronado, and Brandon Tiepelman narrated every play to their audience.

The boys loved every minute on and off the mic, and even gave an autographed picture of them in the broadcast booth to their No. 1 fan, retired history teacher Mr. Don Schulte.

When they are not broadcasting games or creating podcasts, the sports reporters write stories for the PattonvilleTODAY.com website.

Clark has written most of his stories on the football team, but has also authored articles on the basketball, soccer, and boys’ tennis teams. On the other hand, Coronado is more of a talker. He enjoys being one of the hosts of Passing Time, a quick debate on current sports issues, along with the live broadcasts.

So far, I have loved every minute of the class and have come in to class with a new idea every day. I was the first girl to do the football live stream, which was nerve-racking but so loveable, I’ve done it every time since. My dearest projects have been the home game magazine and Pattonville en la Tarde, a podcast about local news done completely in Spanish.

Other new members had the same experience. They didn’t know what to expect but jumped in head-on. The aspiring comedian Ja’Sir Gillum has competed in a contest highlighting the top talents in St. Louis and has been involved in all of this season’s broadcasts. Recently, he has taken a behind-the-scenes role as the live stream’s producer. He has taken the class as an opportunity to prepare himself for his next four years at Mizzou. There, he will major in journalism and minor in music.

Similarly, aspiring actor Journee Bond has honed his musical and theatrical voice to grace the live streams. Although he doesn’t know where he will spend his next four years, he knows he will major in music and minor in theater while enrolled in school.

The other three members of the class can’t participate in the broadcast for various reasons. Even though he can’t be on the live stream, Nathan Schiermeyer likes to listen to it. He loves that the class is inclusive and has “people [he] can relate to.”

Another member, Jacob Whittinghill, can’t participate in broadcasting the game because he is playing in them. The varsity defensive end thinks “it’s pretty cool that [he has] friends cheering for him every game.”

Also on the field as a team manager, Tayler Smith loves that “the class is so small that we all became close.” Her favorite part of the class has been Mr. Brian Heyman. “Heyman is a great teacher. He always gives great feedback and he’s easy to talk to. If you have an idea, he’ll help get it going.”

Heyman, himself, enjoys being able to talk about sports for a whole hour in class and help students find a passion for journalism.

“Many schools have adults broadcasting their games,” he said. “I think it’s a unique opportunity for high schoolers to get this experience and I think it really brings more energy and excitement to the viewer listening at home.”

Although the fans can’t hear him on the live stream, the broadcasters hear him every game either reading fan comments on the Facebook feed or providing information through their headsets as a producer. He started his career as a print journalist working for a newspaper, but has found a passion in new media and teaching students about journalism. He’s made sure to keep up with the latest technology and bringing it into the classroom.

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