Shepard High School, 13049 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights, is now partnering with the community access channel Palos Heights TV to provide students more opportunities to use their skills in a professional realm. (Supplied photos)

Shepard High School, 13049 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights, is now partnering with the community access channel Palos Heights TV to provide students more opportunities to use their skills in a professional realm. (Supplied photos)

Shepard High School partners with Palos Heights TV

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Shepard High School, 13049 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights, is now partnering with the community access channel Palos Heights TV to provide students more opportunities to use their skills in a professional realm.

By Kelly White

Shepard High School is paving the way for future media talents.

The high school, 13049 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights, is now partnering with the community access channel Palos Heights TV (PHTV) under the direction of producer, Dave Wierzel, to provide students more opportunities to use their skills in a professional realm.

Wierzel, 60, is easily recognized on PHTV as a Palos Heights personality and is retired Sandburg High School teacher. His curiosity makes him a natural fit to teach the viewers by asking the questions during live interviews.

“As the only digital media teacher w at Shepard, my time is limited as to what opportunities I can offer students to expand their skills beyond the classroom so I am very grateful and excited that we can draw on Dave’s expertise and connections in the community,” Jodi Pelini, Digital Media Teacher at Shepard High School, said.

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Shepard High School, 13049 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights, is now partnering with the community access channel Palos Heights TV to provide students more opportunities to use their skills in a professional realm.

This is Pelini’s 21st year teaching in the district, however, she began her career as a television reporter working in various markets in Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Alabama.

This is the first time that students in the Advanced Media Production are partnering with PHTV. Currently, there are only juniors and seniors in the Advanced Media class.

Wierzel has filmed numerous interviews at Shepard with students and staff. While he was at the high school holding an interview with the basketball team last year, he met Pelini. Together, they first realized they share a common goal of teaching the next generation of communicators.

“Dave came and talked to the students during class in October and he inspired many of them to think beyond the classroom,” Pelini said. “Eventually we would love to see the students intern at PHTV to produce more content and to help edit. Another opportunity for students is to help film the city council meetings at PHTV.”

For this semester, the class will be producing newscasts with PHTV. The students are writing, filming, and editing news stories to insert into a five to six-minute newscast which will then be filmed at the PHTV studio. The production will include working the prompter and studio equipment to film the students who are anchoring on the news set.

The students will then edit the footage into a newscast. There are four groups of students in the Advanced Media Production class working on this project. Two groups (made up of 10 students) took a field trip in November to the PHTV studio, 7607 W. College Drive. Palos Heights.

The other two groups of students ideally visit the studio in December, Pelini said.

“While enrolled in the digital media classes at Shepard, my students have learned the skills to research, write, film, and edit projects ranging from commercials to short films,” Pelini said. “Working with PHTV allows them to showcase those skills in a professional realm. I felt it is important for the students to understand how to produce for an audience larger than our school community. As a former TV reporter, myself, my passion has always been teaching students how to be eloquent and effective storytellers.  I believe that by teaching them the skills to produce news, the students will then learn to be more critical viewers of the media they watch every day, whether it’s on social media or on the television.”

Next semester, after the new year, Pelini’s class would like to work with businesses in the area to produce commercials. PHTV will help students to coordinate with the businesses, most likely taking field trips to businesses within Palos Heights.

“Looking down the road, we’re hoping this is just the start of a long-term partnership with PHTV,” Pelini said.

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Shepard High School, 13049 S. Ridgeland Ave., Palos Heights, is now partnering with the community access channel Palos Heights TV to provide students more opportunities to use their skills in a professional realm.

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