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Student-driven show becoming a cable hit

Despite limited resources, Lee helps students get television experience as they work on the program.

 

Keysha Lee said her current job combines her two passions, television broadcasts and helping young people realize their dreams.

In addition to teaching at DeKalb Alternative High School, Lee produces and hosts Lessons With Mrs. Lee, a program aired on the DeKalb County education television station. The show format is interviews with exceptional people who share the lessons they have learned throughout their lives.

“It’s the students’ show and I’m impressed with how they take ownership of it,” said Lee, who holds a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and has worked at television stations in Alabama and Georgia. “They do everything from booking and pre-interviewing guests to operating the cameras to editing. I hope one day one of them will take over as on-air host and I can just stay behind the camera.”

The show has included such notable guests as Dr. Abdalla Rashad Tau, author of Delinquent to Doctor, and artist/musician Eshe. Judge Glenda Hatchett of the Emmy-nominated show Judge Hatchett and IronE Singleton from the Walking Dead also have been guests on Lessons With Mrs. Lee.

“The students are sometimes blown away by the impressive guests we have, but they remain focused and professional. They stay on task. They always make me proud. We’ve had guests say, ‘These are high school students? I can’t believe how professional they are.’ That’s our reputation, so we tell any new students who join us that they’re expected to live up to that reputation.”

Camera operation is one of many skills Lee teaches.

Lee said she solicits guests though former classmates and others she knows in the broadcast industry. She said she works for a combination of people the students know about and want to meet and people she thinks they should know. “There are people here in Atlanta who have done important things, but they were things that happened before the students’ time, so they may never have heard the name, but I want to teach a little history along with journalism.”

People approached to be guests almost always are excited about it, Lee said. “No one turns us down.”

The students—called interns in the program—come from all over the DeKalb County School District and some are even from Atlanta schools outside the county. “Some teachers in Fulton County have seen the program and said they don’t have anything like it. They asked if their students could work with us,” Lee explained.

Lee said she started her DeKalb County work with student broadcasting in Dunwoody, where she worked with school volunteer Connie Seacrest. “She’s been involved with Dunwoody High School since her son Ryan Seacrest was a student there. Because he’s been a big success in the broadcast world she likes helping students who are interested in television and radio.” Ryan Seacrest is the host of television’s American Idol and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve as well as morning radio show On Air with Ryan Seacrest.

She also worked at Chamblee High School and said that both Dunwoody and Chamblee have many more resources than she has at DeKalb Alternative School. “There’s no studio here and that presented a challenge, but it’s an exciting challenge. It gave us an opportunity to get creative. We got an opportunity to take the show out of a studio and into the community,” Lee said. One advantage, she added, is that each show looks different. Another is the “real world” experience students get since they sometimes work outside the normal school schedule.

At first Lessons With Mrs. Lee, now in its third season, could only be viewed at the schools, then Lee approached the DeKalb County education network about airing the show publicly. “Their usual programming is school board meetings—that sort of thing—it can be pretty dry. They loved what we’re doing. They’d like us to produce a show every week, but the students’ schedules don’t allow that,” she said.

Lee said she’s pleased with how popular the show has become. “I even hear from people in Fulton County, so they must air it there sometimes too,” she said, adding the some episodes are shown on YouTube as well.

 

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35 Comments

  1. Lateefah Mosley says:

    Awesome article! Continue to inspire the students that many have forgotten. They need you!

  2. Mrs. Gwyn says:

    Great article and and an impressive viewpoint from a veteran broadcaster.. Do you have summer pre-college opportunities for aspiring broadcast/journalism majors? How can students sign up to intern? A valuable resource for students and the community.

  3. ESHE says:

    I always enjoy being interviewed by you and your students!! You are doing an AMAZING job with your students and PLEASE keep up the GREAT work!! Peace & Light to Keysha Perry Lee.

  4. J.Brown says:

    Well done!

  5. Lena Wright says:

    Mrs. Lee, you are doing an excellent job! Keep up the good work. Know that you are impacting these students lives in a positive way!

  6. Larryssa J. Harris says:

    I love what you’re doing, inspiring students and sharing life lessons with the community. Kudos!!!

  7. Alicia says:

    You are an inspirational to those who reach for the stars and need a guide and model to follow

  8. Chandra Porter says:

    Kudos Mrs.Lee!!! It’s so exciting to see students actually learning hands-on. You are providing a “real world” experience that I’m sure your students appreciate. Well done!

  9. Gabriel says:

    This is an excellent example of teaching our young people how to fish. The skills to organize, be creative, work as a team, investigate, think critically and produce something bigger than themselves are all manifested and they will be able to translate these skills and experiences to the next stages of life. Keysha, you are more than a blessing to these young people. I wish you continued success and praying that your territory increases exponentially.

  10. Brenda H. says:

    You’re doing a great job!!! Mrs. Lee ..You’re inspiring children to be greater than their thoughts…Bless you..<3

  11. Deborah Wint says:

    Mrs. Lee,
    Thank you for inspiring young minds and giving them real examples of success stories. Now they know that they can achieve great things too!

  12. Maddie Swab says:

    Great job Mrs. Lee! I love what you’re doing with the show and showing students how amazing broadcast journalism can be!

  13. Danielle Denmark says:

    Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Its truly wonderful when you see teachers who still have a passion for what they do! Congratulations Sis!

  14. T. A. Thornton says:

    Keep up the awesome work you’re doing with our youth! They need the inspiration to accomplish their goals!

  15. MW Patrick says:

    Very good opportunity for students to have authentic experience.

  16. E. Stewart says:

    What a wonderful resource you are providing for students who do not often have such opportunities. This provides them with positive tools that they could use throughout their lives. Please keep doing what you do.

  17. Jermayne says:

    You area blessing to the community and an inspiration to all. Keep moving forward.

  18. Crystal Lewis Livingston says:

    Our nation craves to hear positive human interest stories in the media. It enlightens us; it inspires us; it rejuvenates us; it gives us hope! Keep up the great work Keysha. Continue to show the world that we cannot survive on a diet of negativity!

  19. Brian Little says:

    That is so awesome! Keep up the good work… this is a great opportunity for kids to grow into their career.

  20. D. Griffin says:

    Keysha is using her gift to make a valuable investment in the furure of America. Thank you for helping to lay a solid foundation upon which these potential Journalist can build upon. Keysha is a true inspiration.

  21. Charis mcmichael says:

    Keysha you are a very talented person. I’m so proud of you keep up the good work.

  22. Carrie Moore says:

    I’ve been a fan of “Lessons with Mrs. Lee” from the beginning, and it’s so great to see the show evolving! Not only do these celebrities talk about their successes and failures, they also impart valuable knowledge to students looking to start their own careers. Keep giving back in this unique way! I’ve so appreciated the work that your show does.

  23. KT says:

    Awesome job, Keysha! You’re providing these students with invaluable experience.

  24. Shannon says:

    Lessons with Mrs. Lee is fun and Inspirational. I am so excited to see what is in store for next season!

  25. Clifton Lee says:

    The work you do is so powerful! This is just the kind of programming the younger generation needs. Your show reminds us that the journey to success is not easy and that we should learn along the way.

  26. Latricia Gresham says:

    Mrs. Lee, I truly applaud your effort and creativity in working with the students at the Dekalb Alternative School. You are exposing them to an opportunity they may have not considered as a career for themselves. Thank you for the “Real World” experience that you are providing to them by introducing them to career driven and profession people. Job Well Done Keysha.

  27. Eunice says:

    Truly inspiring. She does so much to inspire students. Students today need real world experience before they enter the world of adulthood. Ms. Lee gives them that. I applaud her in her aim to inspire and motivate young people.

  28. Andrea Pritchett says:

    Lessons with Mrs. Lee is an avenue for students to learn hands on from an awesome teacher who knows the business. Keep up the excellent work. You Rock!

  29. Fatimah M. Jackson says:

    I am so proud fo you Keysha!! Awesome job with the students. Please keep it up, those children need you in their life. You probablly don’t even know how much you really mean to them. You are showing then that they can do anything in life they want to do. You are showing them they are special. You are special :)

  30. CleaVon Parker says:

    After I read this article, I was really excited to know about the positive activities that our teachers and students are involved in. I also think that it shows thw passion you have for empowering young people to do things they may not have previously known that they could do. Continue to inspire a new generation.

  31. Vivian Sihachack says:

    We need more educators like you, Mrs. Lee. Great work!

  32. Evelyn k. Isles says:

    Mrs Lee, Never let a student say they can’t, tell them to remove the T, and you have Can.

  33. Stephanie Johnson says:

    Keysha Lee taught my daughter 3 years of broadcasting. You, Mrs. Lee, are the reason she’s a successful journalism student at Howard University. Your contributions are immeasurable. Thanks so much for giving so much!

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