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Gateway program Local students film commercial for "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader" game show

Are you smarter than a fifth grader? That's the question that Teresa Campbell's fifth grade Gateway students at Bailey Elementary want to know.

Campbell's fifth grade students were chosen to film commercials for the local CW Twin Cities network where they asked the bonus question for the television show "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?" on Dec. 15.

Campbell said she had heard from a friend about the opportunity to nominate a student, or a whole class, to film a commercial that would air during the game show, so Campbell decided to nominate her 23-student class.

Campbell said she wrote that her class would be a good candidate for the commercial because they are very expressive and advanced students.

The individual commercials will air Jan. 11-Feb. 10 during the 6 p.m. broadcast on the CW.

Becoming a television star

On Dec. 15 Campbell took her entire class to the CW studios in St. Paul for an all-day field trip where they filmed their individual commercials and toured the television studio.

Several of Campbell's students -- Michael Virgin, Chase Hartquist, Brynn Carlson and Sam Lee -- said it was exciting and scary to film the commercials with the knowledge it would be broadcast to televisions across most of the state.

"It helped to know that it wasn't live, so if you made a mistake, everyone wouldn't see you make a mistake," Virgin said.

The students said the most difficult task was to remember their question once the camera started rolling and remember to look at the camera.

"It was kind of scary to be sitting there and getting taped," Carlson said. "I would be looking in the camera, and then I'd look away."

The bonus questions that each student asked were in a range of topics including sports, music, science, geography and history.

Campbell said the producer that they were working with was very impressed with the students and their ability to film the commercials with few retakes -- the producer allotted two more hours than she actually needed.

"Most people who do commercials have already done work with that kind of business," Hartquist said. "They just picked us out of the blue."

Learning the business

The majority of Campbell's students said they enjoyed being able to tour the television studio.

"You always see how it looks on TV, but you don't really know how long it takes, and how much work it takes to make just a little commercial," Hartquist said. "It was really cool to find that out."

The students toured a variety of different areas in the studio including control rooms, green screens, sound rooms, editing rooms and the students' favorite, a room filled with old tapes of aired shows.

"It was really interesting to see what they had done over the years," Carlson said.

Even though none of the students have aspirations to go into the television business, they all agreed that it was a great experience and one that they will remember.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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