With visionary thinking from the Granby Public Schools and strong financial backing from the Granby Education Foundation (GEF) and Al Wilke, a state-of-the-art TV studio will be built at the Granby Memorial High School beginning this fall.
The $100,000 project will be primarily funded by GEF, including a generous $10,000 donation from Al Wilke, a former GEF board member. The TV studio space will accommodate a news desk, as well as professional quality sound, lighting, filming and editing equipment.
Wilke, the catalyst for this innovative project, challenged Superintendent Dr. Jordan Grossman to develop a game-changing STEM program in partnership with GEF. Together with help from GMHS technology teachers Tim Barnett and Nick Gaeta as well as Jenn Parsons, assistant superintendent, the TV studio idea quickly progressed. “STEM is so important in today’s world no matter what career you may be in,” said Wilke. “Students need hands-on experiences using technology, developing skills like writing in a real-world context, and seeing the connection between STEM and the arts.”
The studio provides a unique blend of technology and arts education. It will be incorporated into the current high school curriculum through classes—such as Journalism, Sports Marketing, and Principles of Speech and Communication—and with a new school news channel and the Bears Broadcasting Club. Additionally, technology classes will have a hand in building the studio set this fall.
The studio allows GMHS to showcase the many talented artists, actors, musicians and athletes through featured productions. In the future, students may even be able to collaborate on community projects such as public service announcements and highlight reels of community events.
This innovative space builds on the success of a 2020 GEF grant for digital video cameras and computer equipment that livestreamed athletics and arts events over the past school year. Many people, including family and friends from across the country, watched their students play in livestreamed games and perform at arts events like Coffeehouse.
The Granby Education Foundation, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization, funds educational initiatives that expand community involvement in education, enrich creativity and capabilities in teaching, and encourage interest in educational opportunities for Granby residents of all ages. Since its founding in 2000, the GEF has raised more than $700,000 in cash and pledges in support of education.
** UPDATE ** 2/28/22
Even with delays cause by COVID-19 issues, supply chain problems, and inflation challenges, the District staff has been working hard to keep this multi-year project on pace. This year, architects were hired and finalized the design and budget. Technology students will build the news desk by spring, while middle and high school students learn more about TV production. Demolition and studio construction will happen over the summer with the new space opening in fall 2022.
With the new studio comes new opportunities at the high school! News production will now be integrated into the Advanced Communication and Technology class. Plans are underway to revise the Audio/Visual Communications course for the 2023-24 school year to utilize the studio. The Bears Broadcasting Club—which has livestreamed a variety of school events for the past two years—will be able to use the production studio to become a comprehensive video production club.
The TV studio project allows the GEF to support both arts and STEM education in an innovative package that combines capital improvement to the high school with specialized training and unique experiences for the students.