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Wood County students join forces to take on ‘Bookzilla’

Photo by Michael Erb Lubeck Elementary School fifth-graders Henry Cain, left, and Olivia Eaton, right, stand at attention with their “marshmallow catapults” during the filming of “Bookzilla,” a PSA for Lubeck Elementary’s library.

LUBECK — Elementary and high school students teamed up this week to take on a monster driven mad by bad manners in the library.

“Bookzilla,” a public service announcement on the rules of the Lubeck Elementary School library, was filmed by Lubeck students and teens from the Wood County Technical Center Broadcasting Program.

The story, shot entirely at Lubeck Elementary, tells how poor library habits and not following the rules triggers a librarian’s transformation into the dreaded Bookzilla and wreaks havoc at the school. The PSA is done in the style of an on-the-scene news broadcast.

Library Media Specialist Sonya Ashby first came up with Bookzilla four years ago, creating a short video to “reteach library rules in a fun way.”

“The video was very popular and students asked to watch it often,” she said. “This year, students said they wanted to make a sequel.”

Photo by Michael Erb Wood County Technical Center broadcasting student Hayleigh Johnson, left, helps guide Lubeck Elementary School fifth-grader Kamero Jackson, center, as he films broadcasting student Gavin Honse, right, in the final scene of “Bookzilla,” a public service announcement created to teach the rules of the school’s library.

Ashby said recreating the tale of Bookzilla was a school-wide, and beyond, effort.

“All of the ideas in the video came from the students. They decided which rules to ‘break,’ how Bookzilla would react, and how we would return to normal,” Ashby said. “Students then voted on their favorite ideas and I wrote the script.”

Students from the Wood County Technical Center’s Broadcasting Program helped develop the script, determined a shooting schedule, helped the younger students get footage from multiple angles and hit the proper marks, and will be editing and assembling the raw footage.

Seniors Darby Fields, Kiera Mosley, Kyra Sims and Hayleigh Johnson were among the broadcasting students who helped oversee the filming and will have a part in editing the final product. The broadcasting students were under the direction of Broadcast Instructor Lori Ullman.

Ullman said the project counts as part of the program’s community service requirement, but the students said it was more than that.

Photo by Michael Erb The titular Bookzilla waits for the final scene as students from Lubeck Elementary School and the Wood County Technical Center Broadcast Program film “Bookzilla” in the elementary school library. The paper-mache monster was constructed by Lubeck students.

“I don’t think we looked at it as community service,” Fields said. “We just enjoy going out and helping the kids.”

“We know how to have fun and we know when to be serious,” Mosley said, “but also we look at it as a job experience.”

“Working with the kids was a good experience,” Sims said. “I love kids. I want to become a teacher, so working with them was a good experience for me and just seeing their personalities coming out.”

Junior Gavin Honse had his moment in the spotlight as on-scene reporter “Ryan Ryder Skeeter.” For Honse the experience was made even more special because he is a Lubeck Elementary alum.

“My favorite part was just seeing everyone again,” he said.

Photo by Michael Erb Lubeck Elementary School fifth-graders Ryordan McKinney, left, and Alea Hess, right, use iPads to film kid-cops rushing into the school library during a scene in the PSA “Bookzilla.”

Lubeck students in grade 3-5 participated in the movie, from operating cameras and sound effects to acting in the production to building the paper mache monster.

“Students did all of the paper mache work and most of the painting on the monster,” Ashby said. “We have learned lessons in math, writing, science, and cyber-safety all while practicing close reading skills.”

Fourth-graders Brooklyn Taylor and Alaina Knapp had their moment of screen time, but learned a valuable lesson on Hollywood magic.

“I was slimed,” Taylor said. “It was cold. I had to run out of the library pretending to cry.”

“I came in covered in slime too,” Knapp said. “It was really cold.”

Photo by Michael Erb Wood County Technical Center broadcasting student Gavin Honse, left, shares a laugh with Lubeck Elementary School teacher Sandra Harris, right, during an outtake while filming a scene for “Bookzilla” in the school parking lot.

Fifth-grader Kameron Jackson operated one of the cameras during filming, under the direction of several broadcasting students.

“It wasn’t that hard,” he said. “When we were shooting, we laughed a lot. When someone made a mistake, we all laughed and then tried again.”

Officials aren’t sure yet when the movie will be completed, as both the Lubeck and broadcasting students will do cuts of the film. When it is complete, Ashby said, it will be posted through the Lubeck Elementary School Facebook page and will be shown to students at the school.

Ashby said she was grateful for all of the school and community support the project received.

“We have had donations of materials from parents, assistance from our amazing PTA, and a lot of flexibility on the part of the staff,” she said. “I’m very pleased with the excitement this project has generated and all of the hard work the students have put in. This has really been a team effort.”

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