Metcalfe County students and production team members are on the set of the Hornet News Network (HNN). 2018 Rogers Scholar Ethan Bates, seventh from left, helped create the first-ever network as a way to educate and inform the community.

2018 Rogers Scholar Ethan Bates of Metcalfe County has always been intrigued with different forms of the media.

Bates, a senior at Metcalfe County High School, used his expertise in the field to help launch the first-ever Hornet News Network (HNN) for his Rogers Scholars community service project.

“Creating this project has been a passion of mine the entirety of its existence,” said Bates, a graduate of The Center for Rural Development’s Rogers Scholars program. “While I have put countless hours into it, the project has taught me about leadership, technology, and most importantly about my community.”

HNN was created by Bates and Logan Firkins of Metcalfe County with two specific goals in mind: to educate and inform and to bring something new to the table while working closely with everyone in the community.

The project provides students in the Metcalfe County School District and others exclusive access to a diverse selection of multi-media equipment making it possible to now record and stream live school and community events.

“Coming from a small town and rural county, a program like this had never existed, and I am extremely proud of having a hand in providing a service to my community and giving opportunities to so many others,” Bates said.

More than 20 student leaders and countless community members worked together to create a blossoming network of creators, leaders, and providers. The production team is responsible for live coverage of events and athletics throughout Metcalfe County on TV and various streaming services, while regularly producing educational content for the school’s YouTube channel.

“HNN is a group of student leaders that provides information for the community about events and activities in Metcalfe County and the Metcalfe County School District,” said Anita Love, Media Specialist for Metcalfe County High School. “HNN not only impacts communication with the community, but also allows students the opportunity to develop new skills and explore new technologies that they would be unable to experience anywhere else.”

One of the biggest challenges was raising funds to support the technology and other expenses related to the project.

“To gain funding, we worked with our district athletic director to sell advertising for electronic billboards in the gym,” Bates said. “This, along with sharing existing resources between schools and grants, have managed to cover most of our production cost.”

The project would not have been possible without the support of local school and community leaders. Among the supporters were Dr. Benny Lile, Metcalfe County Superintendent; Clint Graham, high school principal; Allen Trotter, middle school principal; Anita Love, advisor and media specialist; Metcalfe County Technology Department; KYSportsGuys; radio station 99.1 The Hoss; Edmonton-Metcalfe County Chamber of Commerce; UK Cooperative Extension Office; and Metcalfe County Library.

The Rogers Scholars community service project has brought success and recognition to the HNN team. The network is working with Barren River Area Development District on a separate project and indirectly helped the school win $5,000 in a video contest.

Bates is the son of Charity Nunnally and Chris Bates of Edmonton.