"All quiet on the set, please," Paty Froggett announces while standing between the panelists and the cameras. She counts down -- "four, three, two, one" -- and then points to the host of the show.
"Hi, I'm Glenn Hall, a 1986 graduate and a student at Ohio State University. I will be moderating a panel discussion on . . . . "
Thus begins another taping of a program produced by Woodbridge Senior High School's Viking TV, the only student-run cable television station in Prince William County.
Today's topic: holiday depression. Panelists include the principal of Woodbridge Senior High School, the president of the Parent-Student Organization, school counselors, psychologists and several students.
For the next 45 minutes, the counselors and psychologists explain the causes and effects of depression, while students state that it is often difficult to tell their parents about their problems.
Behind the set, the camera crew is getting restless. Scott Taylor, a senior at Woodbridge, stretches his arms in the air and yawns. For most of the taping, Taylor moves the focus of his camera from one panelist to another with ease.
Earlier, before the taping began, the camera crew was slightly nervous. It would be the first time that a "continuous" show was produced, in which the camera rolls as questions raised by the moderator are answered in turn by nine panelists seated in a semicircle. There are no scripts.
But under the control of camera director David Cress, a 1986 graduate of Woodbridge, and student cameramen Taylor, Jimmy Profita and Steve Froggett, the taping goes off without a hitch.
Uncontrollable factors, such as the school's public announcement speakers blurting out names of students and muffled sounds of conversation coming from an adjacent classroom, are handled professionally. "Cut. Let's pause and then continue with the discussion," says Paty Froggett, a 12th grade English teacher by day, a program director by night and mother of student cameraman Steve Froggett.
Under her direction, students and graduates such as Hall, who is on vacation from college, write, produce and edit programs that are aired to 15,000 Lake Ridge viewers via cable Channel 30 for about an hour each weekday evening.
They also run and maintain the equipment donated to the school by the local cable company in return for students operating a public bulletin aired round the clock, Froggett said.
The number of students involved in the program varies, Froggett said. "About 60 students took the class last year and we ended up with 28 students."
Froggett says the class is more like a club activity than a class. The school provides the facilities, Froggett said, and funding for the channel comes from the Lake Ridge Parks and Recreation Association, which receives compensation from the local cable company.
Next year the Prince William County School Board will consider making Viking TV a part of the school curriculum. Students would follow a prescribed course and receive credits.
"We're really growing, almost out of control," Froggett said.
Since the inaugural broadcast in August 1986, Viking TV has produced 15 programs, including a helpful orientation film aired this year that led new students on a walking tour of the school.
New this year on Viking TV is coverage of the school's football and basketball games, with a play-by-play commentary by the students, which airs several days after the games, Froggett said.