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Journalism department gets new teacher
May 2, 2022
This next school year will bring a lot of changes, one of those being a new teacher for the journalism department. Hillary Blayney is leaving at the end of the year, and Broderick Hilgenkamp will be stepping into her role.
Hilgenkamp has been working at Central for two years now as a para in the EL department. Katherine Rude approached him with the idea of becoming the new journalism teacher due to his past experience in the field.
Hilgenkamp attended McCook Community College then went on to Doane University. When he was out of college, he did video editing for channel seven, KETV. Later he switched to sports writing for small weekly community papers that the Omaha World Hareld owned: Bellevue Leader, Papillion Times, Ralston Reporter. Hilgenkamp wrote sports for two and a half years then switched to news for two and a half years. In June of 2020 he was laid off.
“The pandemic happened, and newspapers, in general, across the country got hit hard, and we were one the them” Hilgenkamp said.
He began working at Central after that. His wife knew he enjoyed English tutoring and encouraged him to look at OPS and see if there were any jobs relating to EL.
Hilgenkamp has been meeting with Blayney, speaking to students, shadowing the classes to begin to get a feel for what the journalism department is like. He plans to keep the student leadership that has been previously decided. Plans to keep the tradition of submitting students’ work to judges and taking students to attend newspaper conferences.
“I trust Ms. Blayney. The leadership she has chosen will be good. That continuity is really important. I don’t see any benefit of changing anything like that,” Hilgenkamp said.
With new leadership there are bound to be some changes. Hilgenkamp has expressed that he hopes to create partnerships with other news organizations, one being the Omaha World Herald. He also hopes to bring other journalism elements into the department.
“When I was in college, I did a little bit of everything in the journalism department.” Hilgenkamp said. “I was the sports editor for the newspaper, I was music director for the radio station, I did stuff with the TV stations. So, incorporated some more of those other elements like audio editing, video editing, getting students more exposure to that if possible is a goal.”
With his experience in the EL department, he also hopes to be able to provide opportunities for those students to get involved in journalism.
The students already involved he hopes to help encourage them out of their comfort zones: to explore different aspects of the department and write different types of stories.
Hilgenkamp is nervous about being in control of a classroom alone. Next year he will no longer be a para and no longer be in the EL department. He will be in control of his classroom and his own students. Hilgenkamp also has to deal with the pressure to maintain the tradition of excellence Central hold. What he is not nervous about is returning to journalism. He has had a fascination with it since he was a kid. Hilgenkamp getting this job is a full circle moment in his life.
“So, I really loved sports, so basically from when I learned how to read, I would open the sports section of the newspaper and look at box scores and see if my favorite players hit home runs or if my favorite teams were winning, and I would read stories about games and stuff like that. I just read a lot of news,” Hilgenkamp said. “Growing up, Thursday was my favorite day of the week because that was the day Sports Illustrated came in the mail. I would just devour those each week.”
Hilgenkamp is ready to share his knowledge and see the journalism department expand. He plans to try to keep the tradition of excellence running and leave his own mark on Central the way Blayney did.