Educational Service Unit 9 hosts the first-ever social media team day

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

Schools participated in social media challenges focused on the four E’s; entertaining, engaging, empowering and educational. ESU9 officials said events like this help students tell the story of their school.

“Schools are for students, and that’s why I believe students should be part of their school’s storytellers,” said Amy Schultz, ESU9 Professional Learning Specialist. “So we have nine school districts here today that have student-led social media teams telling the story of their school.”

Teachers at the event said it was a great way for students to learn how to use social media properly and eliminate bad content that is sometimes posted.

“They will learn how to use social media well or badly depending on how we help them,” said Jeremy Borer, digital media teacher at Sandy Creek High School. “So what we’re trying to teach them is that you encourage and be positive and not the negative side of it, unfortunately that’s what you see. But they’re hoping we can enlighten them and get rid of some of those bad things that you see and hear on social media .”

Borer said the career opportunities on social media are endless. Students were also inspired by the story of Dante Boelhower, which began as a Hastings child.

“It’s kind of cool to see all the opportunities that his start here in Hastings gives him and proves that you don’t have to be from a big city to make something of your life and that you can do with your phone what you want,” said Cayce Barry, a junior at Superior High School.

While Barry was inspired by Dante, who came from a nearby small town and made it big with social media. Others were inspired by his drive.

“I think the biggest thing has been the determination to post online, to post daily and all those things,” said Keon Johnson, a junior at Doniphan-Trumball High School. “Just stick with it.”

Johnson said the event has now taught him to use practices that get people engaged with online content and how to align them 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 and things like that to get information.”

Barry said a few things she learned from the event are how to get more organized and how to drive branding.