The TV production students at Hoover High will be working with some pretty professional equipment soon.
Well, the school did receive a donation of an entire studio news set from the news professionals at News Channel 5 in Cleveland.
"It was really like their entire set," said Tom Wilson, the school's video production teacher. "And that set wrapped around their entire studio. I mean, it was just huge."
Hoover High students already produce some pretty top-notch work for the district's Channel 11; just look at their series of student Emmy wins (seven in the past eight years through the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) and two actual Emmy nominations outside the student category.
Wilson, never having heard an exact total from the news station, estimates the equipment at hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now that kind of set could really put a student news station ahead of the pack.
But Hoover High won't use the entire donation. In fact, it's given some pieces to GlenOak High School, where Hoover High grad Josh Branch teaches. The school also will get the school's old news desk, which had spent some time at News Channel 5 and Kent State University. Ashland University receives columns and other items, plus the entire weather center (yep, the set you'd probably recognize a little better with Power of 5 Meteorologist Mark Johnson standing in front of it).
And the North Canton Middle School will get some hand-me-downs as well. Hoover High's old set and news desk, which had come from a station in Columbus, goes to them.
So, with all the high school journalism programs from here to Cleveland, how did Hoover High end up with News Channel 5's news studio set?
"Perseverance, the right connections, and it comes down to former students who were in our program," Wilson said.
He points to Bill Gould, a Hoover High grad who had an internship at News Channel 5 in Summer 2011. Gould came to the school along with a News Channel 5 employee to speak about journalism. Afterward, Gould asked Wilson, "What can I do for you?"
Seemed an easy enough question for Wilson. He had his eye on Channel 5's news studio set, which was up for grabs, and several other area schools had the exact same idea.
After what Wilson calls a "long process and tons of work," the set was on its way to Hoover High, and Wilson and Hoover students have been setting it up since its arrival this summer.
"We had to basically retrofit this whole thing into here," Wilson said, pointing to the in-progress set. "It's like 'use your imagination' at this point."
North Canton Patch plans to update its readers when the set is complete.
Hoover High only had to cover expenses, which included renting moving trucks and new lighting for the set, which comes out of the station's program budget and money made through video sales.
The program received startup grants 10 years ago from the Herbert Hoover Foundation and the Hoover Foundation, Wilson said. That money went to purchase equipment for their studio, control room, editing stations and field cameras. And that equipment still is in use today.
Now, Wilson and TV production students are working with a sort of makeshift studio but still feeling pretty lucky to have the News Channel 5 set and look forward to its completion.
"This is something, No. 1, we couldn't afford to do, and it's such a rare opportunity because of all the other journalism programs that are out there," Wilson said.