Education Service Unit 9 hosts the first social media team day

HASTINGS, Neb. (Nebraska) — Educational Service Unit 9 hosted its first ever Social Media Teams Day on Tuesday. The event was attended by social media influencer and Hastings native, Dante Bolehower.

Schools competed in social media challenges centered around the four E’s; entertain, engage, empower and educate. ESU9 officials said events like this help students tell the story of their school.

“Schools are good for students, so I feel students should be part of their school’s storytellers,” said ESU9 professional learning specialist Amy Schultz. “So today we have nine school districts here where they have student-led social media teams that tell the story of their school.”

Teachers at the event said it’s a great way for students to learn how to use social media properly and weed out harmful content that is sometimes posted.

“They’re going to learn the good or bad way to use social media, depending on how we help them,” said Jeremy Borer, a digital media instructor at Sandy Creek High School. “So we’re trying to teach them that promoting and being positive and not the negative side, unfortunately you see that. But you hope we can educate them and get rid of some of that nasty stuff you see and hear on social media.

Borer said the career opportunities in social media are endless. The students were also inspired by the story of Dante Boelhower started by Hastings as a child.

“It’s pretty cool to see all the opportunities he’s had starting here in Hastings and how it shows that you don’t have to come from a big city to make something of your life and that you can do whatever you want with your phone,” said Cayce Barry, Junior at Superior High School.

While Barry was inspired by Dante who came from a small town nearby and made it big with social media. Others have been inspired by his guidance.

“I think the biggest thing was the determination to post online, post daily and all that kind of stuff,” said Keon Johnson, Junior at Doniphan-Trumball High School. “Keep doing it.”

Johnson said the event has taught him now to apply practices that will get people to engage with online content and how to make it consistent with the school’s brand.

“Social media is definitely important, things are changing and it’s the easiest way to let people know what’s going on,” Barry said. “Not everyone watches the news. More and more people are spending time on their phones, things like that, getting information out there.

Barry said some things she learned from the event were how to become more organized and how to promote the brand.

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