Student-led broadcast receives help from MVTV

"MVRHS Grapevine" informs students and teaches them about the news media.

Bella Giordano and Jackson Pachico tell school committee members about the MVRHS Grapevine — a student-led news broadcast. - Lucas Thors

A new initiative at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) gives students firsthand experience with broadcast media, and keeps both students and faculty informed week to week.

The “MVRHS Grapevine” is a student-led initiative where kids assume anchor roles and provide weekly news updates to the entire school.

At Monday’s school committee meeting, MVRHS students Bella Giordano and Jackson Pachico presented some improvements to the “Grapevine” that have grown the project since its inception last year.

A lot of work goes into the production, according to Bella, and the student athletes and anchors who participate have to find time out of packed schedules. 

First, students send out emails to teachers and staff, asking for upcoming events, student achievements, and sports games. 

“Anything they want students and faculty to know, that’s what we want to share,” Bella said.

The news team then writes an easy-to-read script based on the information they gathered.

“We usually focus on things like options for flex block or major home games for our sports teams,” Bella said. 

The “Grapevine” often invites sports team captains and players to announce their home games and ask for support.

There is also a different student spotlight each week that focuses on a theme or initiative that is important to the school. Leaders of student advocacy groups and other initiatives are also brought on to speak about upcoming events and goals.

This past week, the spotlight focused on Stand With Everyone Against Rape (SWEAR), a program that educates students on myths, stereotypes, and repurcussions of sexual assault and rape. 

“These types of things are important to everyone in the community, so it really keeps people informed and up-to-date,” Bella said.

Pachico said Martha’s Vineyard Community Television (MVTV) has helped “Grapevine” in many ways to grow the production efforts and teach the news team good broadcasting skills.

“MVTV has really helped us improve from last year. They let us use an iPad as well as a projector that is fairly easy to read off of, so it looks like you are looking directly at the camera,” Pachico said. “They tell us if you mess up a line, just wait a couple seconds and get counted back in, then keep going.”

MVTV also provided microphones, cameras, and production lights for “Grapevine” to use in their broadcasts, and they even set it all up for them.

“This is a huge step up from last year, when we only had one camera and were reading right off a laptop,” Pachico said. 

After all the information is gathered, a script is written, and the anchors are recorded. Pachico said he edits all the recordings, inserts effects, and changes the greenscreen background to fit the theme.

“This past week, we used the SWEAR logo, which Bella made, as the background,” Pachico said. “I add pictures and captions, then at the end of the week I submit it all to YouTube for everyone to have access to.”


Keeping track of the MVRHS field project

In other business, Superintendent Matt D’Andrea gave a brief update on the track and field project, and the status of the Tisbury School.

D’Andrea said track and field designer Chris Huntress has been conducting necessary testing and surveying of the existing high school track and fields, and anticipates submitting an application to the Oak Bluffs planning board in December.

In response to a request from the Oak Bluffs planning board, school board members nominated Kris O’Brien to act as the representative for the track and field project at the high school.

“The representative will be available at the central office and will attend meetings. The [Oak Bluffs] planning board is starting to meet, and they want a regular contact,” O’Brien said.

“Someone who would speak for the school board, and work with the designer and owner’s project manager.”

School committee member Skipper Manter said there couldn’t be a better representative for the project than O’Brien.

“You are incredibly well-versed in the project, you have been with us since day one, and I know you are passionate about this,” Manter said.

O’Brien accepted the nomination, and thanked the committee for their “vote of confidence and trust.”

D’Andrea also said the Tisbury School is negotiating with a contractor to complete the lead encapsulation in the building. D’Andrea said he is working with Tisbury School Principal John Custer to draft a work schedule.

“We still plan to complete all work prior to the holiday break,” D’Andrea said. “The goal is to return Tisbury students from the high school back to the Tisbury School in January.”