By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

T hird-grader Lilly Kilby slips headphones over her ears, and adjusts the microphone closer to her face.

She keeps up a one-sided conversation in this radio station booth, then informs her audience she will now sing “I Can Only Imagine.”

And she does — a cappella, her voice filling the soundproof room that is new this year at Baker Adventist Christian School.

Through the window, past the “Live On Air” sign, her classmates take a spelling test. A radio plays low on the teacher’s desk, where Boyde Hosey can keep an ear tuned to the station. Two students, assigned as program managers, also listen.

“They are listening for continuity, dead time, content,” Hosey said.

The school has 16 students from grades kindergarten to 8. Hosey’s class of 11 in grades 3-8 take turns on air from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Lilly is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

“It goes by really fast. It’s the funnest part of the day,” she said.

The radio station (channel 97.7 FM) transmits 200 feet.

“It only goes to the road — this year,” Hosey said.

He’s applying to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a Class D license, which would allow him to transmit up to 3 1/2 miles.

The radio station is just one of Hosey’s projects. He’s been teaching since 1980, and this is his first year as a full-time teacher at the Adventist School.

To prepare for the new school year, Hosey researched the education system in Finland.

“Finland schools are number one in the world. What are they doing that we aren’t doing? I started digging,” he said.

What he found was a system that went heavy on academics in the morning, then switched to a work-study style in the afternoon.

“I thought, ‘why can’t we do something like that?’ ”

Their daily schedule includes classroom work and music in the morning, then everything switches at lunchtime to activities that put the students’ skills to practice during what he calls “industry.”

From noon to 1 p.m., students take turns running a health food store stocked with bulk items (oatmeal, rice and grains), granola, and vegetarian items.

The store is open to the public and customers pay in cash. The students practice counting change back and also gain experience in bookkeeping, stocking shelves and pricing.

“We deal with real money, a real product and real customers,” Hosey said.

When asked about the bestselling item, seventh-grader Katlyn Myers smiles and points to the single serve chocolate milk boxes in the refrigerator.

“The other thing that sells well is this,” she said, tapping the empty bin marked for organic rolled oats.

The store is also open from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Customers are asked to come to the school entrance located on the north side of the building near the playground.

Later in the afternoon, Hosey’s class heads to woodworking class.

“I wanted to have a shop, but there wasn’t a facility,” he said.

However, there was space in the boiler room, located in a small building on the east side of the school.

He cleared it out and set up the tools needed for wood shop. Hosey runs the table saw, but the students use the sander, jigsaw, lathe and hand tools.

Prior to working, though, the students learn about safety and also draw up their projects, which adds an artistic element.

See more in the April 23, 2018, issue of the Baker City Herald.