LUMBERTON — Nothing remains in the way of cast and crew of “Good Morning America” from staging Thursday’s broadcast of the ABC television network program at Lumberton Junior High School, during which the city and Robeson County’s recovery from Hurricane Matthew will be spotlighted.
The two-hour live show originally was scheduled to be held in Lumberton on Friday, but a snowstorm swept into the Northeast and canceled flights out of New York City, making it impossible for key personnel to make the trip.
The broadcast begins at 7 a.m. Anyone wanting to wiggle into the audience with a hope for some camera time should begin lining up at 6:30 a.m. at the school, which is located at 82 Marion Road.
Some students have designed posters and artwork for the show, said Tasha Oxendine, public relations officer at the Public Schools of Robeson County.
The program, which debuted in 1975, features news, interviews, weather forecasts, special-interest stories and feature segments. Its primary anchors are Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Lara Spencer and Michael Strahan and weather anchor Ginger Zee, although it’s unclear which ones made the trip.
School hours have been altered to accommodate the show.
“The West Lumberton and Lumberton Junior High students are expected to arrive around 6:30 a.m. This will give them an opportunity to have breakfast and be prepared for the show,” Oxendine said. “This earlier time is only for that campus. The school day will be a normal day, but they will arrive one hour earlier. This applies to bus and car riders.”
It’s not known if the students will be able to interact with the show’s on-camera personalities because the network is coordinating all the live portions of the broadcast, and show producers have not released that information. But school officials will have a role.
“Interim Superintendent Dr. Shanita Wooten, the assistant superintendents as well as several of the directors will be on hand to assist with coordination and support for the school staff,” Oxendine said.
The Lumberton Police Department has assigned 30 officers to help with traffic and crowd control, Capt. Terry Parker said. Special traffic patterns have been set for before and after the event. There will be no change to traffic patterns for students arriving at the school by bus or in private vehicles.
The broadcast will spotlight the recovery from Hurricane Matthew at Lumberton Junior High and West Lumberton Elementary schools, Oxendine said.
The “Good Morning America” staff members met last week with Lumberton Junior High staff, school district maintenance personnel, Lumberton police and Lumberton Electric Utilities employees to set up for the show, and were expected to do so again this week.
Hurricane Matthew struck Robeson County on Oct. 8, damaging more than 7,000 structures and forcing more than 5,000 people to flee their homes.
Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974.