West Village Academy has a fresh approach to improve student communications. This spring, West Village Academy partnered with Fresh Nation to provide a speaker training program for its sixth-graders. The leadership at West Village Academy saw an opportunity to build upon the social media focus that most youth have these days and to expand students’ ability to communicate and speak at the highest level.

The typical student in the Fresh Nation program has a mastery of social media skills but may be shy at speaking or lack the confidence to speak to individuals, small groups or large audiences. Fresh Nation has formulated a program that uses broadcast media platforms that engages the students to speak. Students learn speaking techniques as well through the program.

West Village Academy students were able to expand their vocabulary and improve diction while participating in various broadcast speaking drills and high-level competitions while earning prizes as well as summer job opportunities. The culminating activity for Fresh Nation participants was an outstanding field trip to the legendary Radio One Detroit studios founded by Kathy Hughes. Students had an opportunity to participate in a live radio broadcast session, meet radio show hosts and various behind-the-scenes executives, develop and produce their own radio ad and, most importantly, receive an experience of a lifetime. This is a benefit and added value provided for all participating schools in this program. Because of the great success of the speaker training program at West Village Academy, Fresh Nation will continue the next level of this program in the fall of 2016.