Spotlight: Hopi High School


Imani M. Cheers

Imani M. Cheers

Earlier this year, PBS NewsHour Extra team members Imani Cheers and Thaisi Da Silva traveled to Hopi High School in Keams Canyon, Arizona. Hopi High is one of forty schools in the nation chosen for the Student Reporting Labs program.

In the youth-driven journalism program, students investigate issues and questions of concern to their generation. After research, interviews with students and experts, they seek potential solutions to these issues. All of this is wrapped into a short film, all directed and edited by the students along with the help of a teacher and media professional.

Hopi High is not an ordinary school as it is located on an Hopi reservation. The residents of the reservation are considered the oldest native living people. The Hopi are known for dry-farming techniques and crafts including unique silverware, weaving, baskets and pottery. Moreover, privacy is a priority and no sketching or recording of their religious ceremonies are allowed. With such a unique culture surrounding Hopi High, there’s no wonder why the school stands out among others in the nation. The school holds less than 700 students and hosts 7th-12th grades. Moreover, throughout the school there are student murals that displays Indian culture.

Hopi High’s journalism program was established with just a newspaper in 1991 by the school’s principal, Glenn Gilman. Today, the school releases a bi-monthly newspaper, has a radio broadcast program and is a participant of the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program. Hopi has been recognized all over the country for it’s print work. Over the course of the year, Hopi High will be producing four video, two on the high school dropout rate in the U.S. and two more science-related issues in their community. The production of the videos will be led by journalism teacher Stan Bindell, who has taught at the school for 14 years.

While in Keams Canyon, students learned different camera and editing techniques. Students put what they learned to use from the NewsHour Extra staff by conducting interviews with one another. Below is what some of the students shot.