Fiber broadband connectivity from GRM Networks is helping connect the Princeton R-5 School to communities and alumni around the globe through the school’s multimedia class. The class provides Princeton high school students a hands-on opportunity to learn about technology by producing weekly video announcements and live streaming the school’s sporting events and activities such as band concerts and graduations.

“The class offers students the really rare opportunity to get to work with different types of video equipment, streaming services and video editing software,” said Heather Hall, Princeton R-5 High School Business and Technology Teacher. “The technological experience is invaluable.”

First offered in 2018, the class has since grown in popularity, doubling in size and filling two time slots each semester on the class schedule. Hall says that the students take pride in their work delivering a product that helps connect a community. Not only do alumni check in to see what’s happening at their alma mater, she says, “People from all over the world watch our broadcasts.”

Class curriculum involves students writing scripts, operating cameras, interviewing and editing to produce weekly announcements and live stream sporting events and other school activities. In the end the students have a sense of pride about their work. “They are proud to show their friends and family what they are doing,” said Hall.

Developing Skills

“There are some students in the class who want to be behind the scenes. I push them to get out of their comfort zone and be in front of the camera,” said Hall, noting this helps students build confidence. “I love to see the technical component of skills be improved upon, but I most enjoy seeing their confidence grow. It is super important to be comfortable speaking in front of people and writing a script that is coherent,” said Hall.

Princeton R-5 alum Andrew Rhoades agrees. Rhoades graduated this past May and is headed to Southwest Baptist University (SBU) in Bolivar pursuing degrees in computer science and mathematics. He has also signed with the SBU track and field team where he will compete as a decathlete. Rhoades says the multimedia class helped him not only become familiar with technology, but he learned firsthand the importance of problem solving, teamwork, being organized, good communication skills and the ability to improvise when needed.

As a senior member of the class, Rhoades wore many hats. Not only was he an anchor for the weekly announcements, but he also gained valuable experience operating cameras, directing, editing and producing segments. “Sometimes I was the only person in the production room during a live stream. If something went wrong, I had to think fast and figure it out,” he said.

Princeton High School’s tech savvy Superintendent Jerry Girdner has been instrumental in launching the class. Girdner is a licensed drone pilot and often helps the students.  Girdner worked with GRM Networks District Manager Nathan Evans to ensure the school was technologically equipped to support the class.

A Partnership

GRM Networks partnered with the school’s multimedia class to produce a marketing video. The video was one of the largest projects on which the class has worked. Rhoades assumed a large portion of the production responsibilities. He, along with Hall and Girdner, worked with the marketing department at GRM Networks to produce the video. The video, which can be viewed here, features past and present employees of GRM Networks.

“Working with the media class was a great experience,” said GRM Networks Director of HR and Marketing Jenni Neff. “It was a mutually beneficial relationship for GRM Networks and the class. The skills the class teaches are essential and will benefit the students throughout their careers.”

Rhoades says the class is an important part of the school’s curriculum not only because it allows students to work with technology, but also in the experiences students gain and the skills it helps them build. Through the interviews and covering the extracurricular activities “it forces students to get involved in PHS,” he said.