As part of its Living History Project, the New Jersey section of the American Water Works Association (AWWA NJ) teamed up with Toms River Regional Schools students who are a part of the district-run TV Production Program (TV21) housed at High School East. Over the course of a few months, seniors currently enrolled in the program’s broadcast journalism course had the opportunity to use the skills and knowledge they have obtained by interacting with retired and current members of the AWWA NJ in a live TV interview setting.
Two retired industry professionals were interviewed about their career experiences and shared words of wisdom to the young people while introducing them to the science and technology terminology used in the water industry. The retired professionals were Richard Russo, former vice president for Mott MacDonald, and William Hutchinson, former executive director/chief engineer for South East Morris County MUA.
Members of the AWWA NJ were back in district on May 11, 2017 to present a $2,000 donation to the TV Production Studio. According to Chip Phillips, TV21’s coordinator, the generous donation will be put towards the scholarship fund, year-end awards banquet, and, if funds remain, to update outdated technology and program software in the studio.
High School East Principal Pat Thomas was in attendance during the check presentation and thanked the AWWA NJ for the opportunity to participate in the project. “The students loved doing this project. Thank you for the generous donation and allowing us to participate,” Thomas said.
The primary goal of the AWWA’s Living History Project is to document and continually update the history of water use and how it is distributed to customers in New Jersey. Through sharing experiences and knowledge from retired professionals in the industry, it hopes to educate young people on the importance of water to society and our environment. The project has been ongoing for 10 years, with this being the school Toms River Regional Schools’ first year participating. Both the district and the AWWA NJ hope the collaboration continues on for many years.
Neil Goldfine, chair of the Retired Professionals Committee for the AWWA NJ, praised the students for their hard work and dedication to this project. He told the students, “Your role in this project was very important. We thank you for a job well done and we are very happy with the final outcome of the video. We are hoping for a long term relationship with the school district and the TV studio.”
While working on the project, the student-based TV crew was asked to stay on task in a live TV setting while producing and directing under real deadlines. The final 50-minute video produced from the project was completed entirely by students. Clips from the video can be viewed at http://www.njawwa.org.
“Projects like this are a great opportunity for our students to build their resumes and portfolios for college acceptance into broadcast or journalism programs,” said Phillips. “It was a different type of studio production than they normally work on in class, so we were happy to take on this project when contacted by the AWWA NJ.”