When Kunal Arora first joined the staff of Quince Orchard High School six years ago, the morning announcements show featured students sitting behind a desk reading announcements written for them by staff. Put together as part of a school club, the group still had VHS tapes in the studio and used a VCR to transmit the show.
Sometimes if his computer was not working to get the show, Arora would tell his students to go over to another teacher’s room to see it. Some didn’t even bother. They were tuned out. Arora wondered why they didn’t care and decided to find a way to make the show better.
Fast forward to today and the club is now an Audiovisual Communication & Broadcast Technologies pathway through the school’s Career Technology Education program. Previously known as Cougar TV, the show has now been re-branded as Quince Orchard TV with a much higher production value, including edited pieces shot throughout the school that are uploaded to YouTube weekly on Fridays.
“Now I get to see the kids every day,” he said. “We get to work on the materials Monday through Thursday. … I always wanted it to be something that people want to watch. Not something that people have to watch.”
The program has uploaded 65 episodes to YouTube as of the end of November and continues to grow featuring beginner, intermediate and advanced classes. Roles such as camera work and editing are rotated. “I try to let the kids pitch story ideas,” Arora said. “… I try to let the kids control it and let it be a show by the kids for the kids ‘cause that was not always the case.”
One student is into comics, so Arora lets students create drawings about things going on at the school. Another student recently pitched a piece on teachers playing Minecraft that got lots of positive response. The broadcast also features student spotlights, sports, events and news.
Jamie Elder is in her second year of the program. She hopes to be in the television industry in the future with her dream gig working at “Saturday Night Live.”
She has done multiple roles for the show but primarily works on editing segments. “It is really cool being able to just edit a bunch of work that is done by some people in the class,” she said. “… This program really allows you to show and do what you love for an audience of people that are excited to see what you have to put out.”
Her favorite piece that she has worked on thus far was an anti-bullying public service announcement last year. “Being able to send out that type of message was something I was really proud of that I got to do,” Elder said.
Being a part of the program, Elder has most enjoyed the friends she has made. “I have really met some of my closest friends through this program,” she said. “Arora is such an amazing teacher. I love the people that I have met here.”
Arora hopes the program will help those who want to go into the communications, journalism or entertainment industries. He noted he runs the program like a production company so there is no downtime. Once a student finishes, they can help others to get their pieces ready for Thursday deadlines or they can start to work on next week’s edition.
“I want the show and the work that we do to give people a sense of what it is like to be at QO and uplift everybody,” Arora said. “Although we are the TV class, we are very much trying to help every other group within the school to get more recognition, share what is special and celebrate what is unique about QO.”