Hands-On Experience

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September 1, 2015

BRUNSWICK, Ohio - Dozens of Brunswick school students are learning real-life lessons in journalism. Roughly 40 students in grades 6 through 12 make up The Brunswick Educational Access Television Program or "The Beat."

Riley Haas is one of those students. Some of her stories have already made news in the local papers. Now, for the first time, Haas has started capturing community events with a camera.

Just recently, she spent part of her weekend covering the Brunswick Hills Township Fire Truck Housing Ceremony. The Township got two new trucks and it was Haas' idea to cover the story. "Coming up with ideas is kind of hard, especially because a lot of people have the same idea," said Haas.

The program started 15 years ago and now it is run entirely by the students. "I'm in charge of teaching first-year students about journalism," said sophomore Alexis Gemelas.

The students are required to produce six print and video stories a year. Some of those stories end up in local papers. The program and students have won national awards for their work.

Perhaps surprisingly, a good portion of students in the program don't want to be journalists. Gemelas, for example, wants to be a pediatrician. "Communication skills in any field is essential," said Gemelas.

Allison Rhoades is a junior and the technical manager. She teaches the younger students how to use the equipment and runs the show as a director. She has been in the program since she was in sixth grade. "When you think about it's amazing," said Rhoades.

The program is run through foundation grands and business sponsorships.

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Grant Relic By 'Sam' Boyer, Sun News
on February 08, 2015 at 12:50 PM

BRUNSWICK, Ohio - Every television personality looks forward to landmark moments for their shows and reaching 100 episodes is always epic.

It was only fitting that a big celebration marked the day Grant Relic, host of Cable Channel 22's Sports BEAT, reached his 200th episode anniversary on Feb. 7. Relic knew about the special day, but was surprised when he arrived at the studio to see the crew wearing special shirts in honor of the occasion. The surprises kept coming as representatives of the three major league sports in Cleveland arrived to join in the fun.

"Way back when," Relic explained, "Rich Nowak was football coach and athletic director. He came to me and said they were thinking of taping the home games to show on cable and wondered if I was interested in doing the games."

Relic attended all the games anyway so his answer was simple: "why not?" Mike Kukarola joined him as commentator.

Then, in 2001, he was approached about doing a sports show in the studio. The idea was to interview the football coach after the game and to bring athletes from all the sports to interview them. The rest is Brunswick Educational Access TV history.

"We started out taping the shows in the media center and that was fun," he said. "Every so often there would be a crackling interruption for an announcement. We had to stop until it was over and start again. Now, thanks to John Wasylko, we have this beautiful studio and shows are taped on Saturdays."

Relic, an attorney, is no stranger to sports. He was an outstanding athlete in high school and at the College of Wooster. Throughout his life, he has coached a number of sports at various levels. He was a founding member of the Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame. He now serves as a member of Brunswick's board of education, as does Nowak.

"I'm a baseball guy," he admitted, noting he has been a season ticket holder for the Cleveland Indians for so many years, the seats cost just $8.

So when the first guests arrived, he was thrilled. It was Jim Rosenhaus, Cleveland Indians radio broadcaster, and Curtis Danburg, director of communications.

Following a 15-minute interview, the men presented Relic with a signed Michael Brantley jersey. Ironically, Relic had talked about Brantley being on the verge of stardom.

Then came basketball and the longtime "voice" of the Cavs, Joe Tait, came to chat. That was followed by the Browns, as former star, Greg Pruitt arrived.

A cake presented by staff member, Alexis Gemelas, included special thanks from sixth grade students who are BEAT reporters and wrapped up the day of surprises. The special 200th show will be on Cable Channel 22 on March 2. Schedules can be found at www.brunswickvideoprogram.org. It will also be online at thebeat/PEGcentral.com.

After all these years, Relic has the same attitude he had when the show began.

"It's just fun!"


OSBA OSBA Opportunity Knocks for The BEAT By Hannah Wasylko, BEAT Reporter

On December 9, 2014, Brunswick's BEAT Video Program (www.thebeat22.com ) traveled to Columbus, Ohio to be the featured speakers at an Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) workshop. School districts from all throughout Ohio attended the presentation, created by eight student BEAT reporters from grades seven through twelve. John Wasylko, BEAT advisor, also participated.

"A lot of preparation went into it," explained Jonathan Yokiel, an Edwards Middle School eighth-grade student and BEAT veteran. "We were informed about it in early November. We started with a simple outline and decided who was going to say what. Then, we wrote rough drafts of our speeches, rehearsed, rewrote it all, got it perfect and then presented it."

At the workshop, BEAT students shared facts and information about the BEAT and how it is unique from the other student activities. "The whole presentation received rave reviews as I talked to audience members afterwards," commented Crystal Davis, OSBA Deputy Director of Communications Services. "They were impressed with how well-prepared the students were and with the overall organization and success of The Beat program."

The BEAT was chosen because it is an award-winning, student-run and entirely self-funded program. BEAT students shared their thoughts on how other districts can create their own video programs in their communities.

"It gave us the opportunity to practice our speaking skills," said Yokiel. "Also, it gave us the opportunity to look at The BEAT through a different way, because we presented all the specifics that we may not think about each week. And, it was great for the people who attended because they learned about the video program through the students' perspective, not only Mr. Wasylko's perspective."

"I wish I could wave a magic wand and implement The Beat program in every Ohio school district that does not already have a video production program in place," said Davis. "But, I realize that The BEAT program was not built overnight. It has taken a lot of hard work to create and maintain the independent, student-run and self-funded program. I think the Brunswick community should be very proud of this homegrown success story," she added.

Hannah Wasylko, a freshman at Brunswick High School, Is one of over thirty-five "backpack journalists" in the award-winning Brunswick Schools Video Program. The Program is sponsored by RPM, Plum Creek Assisted Living Community, WOW! Cable & internet, Allstate/Brenda States and Lorain County Community College/University of Akron at Midpoint Campus Center. Go to www.thebeat22.com to learn more about the Program, or visit thebeat.pegcentral.com to view videos produced by the students.

PICTURED (L-R): BEAT speakers Rohan Srivastava, Jonathan Yokiel, Alexis Gemelas, Allison Rhoades, Madilyn Gaydos, Sara Popov, Hannah Wasylko, Gabe Wasylko


Brunswick Life
This issue of Brunswick Life is almost exclusively filled with articles from Brunswick students. They are among 30 to 35 students in grades six through 12 participating in the BEAT program. The independent, self-funded program is sponsored by RPM, Plum Creek Assisted Living Community, WOW! Cable and Internet, Allstate/Brenda States, and Lorain County Community College/University of Akron at Midpoint Campus.

"None of this would be possible without the support of the Brunswick City Schools, our sponsors over the last fourteen years and especially our BEAT students and their families. They've made the program the success that it has become," said program adviser John Wasylko, who also contributed much to this issue, tracking down pictures and articles.

I am grateful for the students' contributions and impressed by their work, but they didn't leave much room for me. The students came up with their own story ideas and delivered quality articles. This is their issue.

I encourage readers to visit TheBEAT22.com to read the longer versions of the students' articles, and watch them on Channel 22. Join me in congratulating them on a job well done.

Bill Hammerstrom Editor, Brunswick Life Magazine.