Town Hall: A Behind The Scenes Look

School Board Election Meeting held By Liberty publications’ students marks another milestone for the program


Sruthi Ramesh

Crew members celebrating after striking the set for Town Hall.

Sammy Knickmeyer, Reporter

The Town Hall Meeting was revolutionary for the Liberty publications program.

This event gave students a voice and chance to show that they are powerful and intelligent. Not only did this event help the students and voters, but it also helped the school board candidates tremendously. They were given the opportunity to listen to students, parents, and teachers and answer their questions. This possibly could have persuaded many people to go out and vote in the election. With a lot of planning and each crew member worked hard to make sure the students and candidates were heard and given the opportunity to ask questions, the event went spectacularly. 

The crew behind the event included nine members each doing a different job needed for the broadcast. Due to COVID-19, the Town Hall could not be held with a live audience, so the broadcast served as a live and unedited event. The crew included: 

  • Rhett Cunningham & Ianne Salvosa: Planning, Organizing, & Coordinating
  • Lizzie Kayser & Sean Bruce: Question Culling & Moderating
  • Jackson Martin, Cara Turner: Production, Lights, & Sound
  • Alix Queen: Time Moderator
  • Jayce Haun: Visual Graphics & Transitions
  • Sruthi Ramesh: Camera Directing
  • Paige Bostic & Ben Janssen: Camera Work
  • Paige Bostic & Sruthi Ramesh: Advertising Design
  • Sruthi Ramesh: Logo Design 

“The idea was originally created last year for the 2020 Board of Education (BOE) election,” Sruthi Ramesh said. “Due to the pandemic, we were unable to follow through. But now in hindsight, it was almost a blessing. This time around, publications was asked to lead it. With the live streaming experience that we have been gaining throughout this school year, we were so prepared to take on this challenge, and I think this group effort was absolutely amazing.”

The event was originally planned before COVID-19, but had to be continued the 2020-2021 school year due to restrictions being lifted. Sean Bruce and Lizzie Kayser, the moderators for the event, did research on each candidate to make sure they were asking relevant questions. 

“In the days leading up to the Town Hall, I was feeling super excited,” Salvosa said. “Our whole organizing team was working really hard during the workdays and rehearsals and I was able to see the whole thing come together. I felt a bit of stress as well because it kind of hit me that this was the first time this type of event had been produced in our district and I wanted to set the bar really high.”

Ianne Salvosa prepares content prior to the event. (Sammy Knickmeyer)

Different responsibilities were assigned to each crew member based on what they liked and felt most comfortable and confident doing. 

“We sent out an interest form to the magazine and yearbook staff and asked them to rank the committees in the order of their interest in them. Then, considering their preferences and their individual strengths, we placed them in their committees.” Salvosa said. “Rhett and I communicated with the candidates and set up the whole committee system. We planned the stage set up and all the fine details of the event. Our Livestream committee, Jayce, Ben, Paige, and Sruthi, was in charge of manning the livestream and creating the livestream graphics. The Advertising committee, Paige and Sruthi, was in charge of making and distributing promotional materials for the event. The Moderating committee, Lizzie and Sean, had the responsibility of taking our Town Hall topic survey responses and picking out the three most common topics to form into questions. They also researched the candidates and their platforms to come up with individual questions that were tailored to each candidate. Lastly, our Production committee (Jackson, Alix, and Cara) were in charge of the staging (mics, lighting, sound) and also manning the timer during the event.”

Each crew member came an hour or two before the event began. They each started setting up the cameras, broadcast equipment, microphones, etc. 

Each member worked hard to stay quiet and focused during the event. The livestream went smoothly and any issue was solved immediately by the hardworking students.

“I like doing live events where the pressure is high and we have never done anything like this before so it was fun to start from scratch,” Cunningham said. 

The Town Hall broadcast had more than 5,000 views as of Election Day on April 6. It has the most views of any video that LHS Publications has hosted on their YouTube channel, lhsstreaming.