VINTON–About three years ago, an employee in the Roanoke County Schools Central Office asked Chuck Lionberger about the possibility of producing live transmissions of the County’s high school graduations. The staff member wanted to include those who couldn’t be at the Salem Civic Center in person.
“Once he mentioned the idea, it was a no-brainer,” said Lionberger, Community Relations Specialist for the school system.
On June 8, for the third consecutive year, the graduates of Cave Spring, Hidden Valley, Northside, and William Byrd High Schools will have live streaming coverage of their graduation ceremonies: Cave Spring at 9:00 a.m.; Hidden Valley at 11:30 a.m.; Northside at 2:30 p.m.; followed by William Byrd at 5:00 p.m. Online transmission will begin about ten minutes prior to the start of each event via the school system’s website at www.rcs.k12.va.us/graduation.
Glenvar High School holds its graduation ceremony at Highlander Stadium, instead of the civic center, so no video streaming is available for them. If there is inclement weather and their graduation is moved to the Salem Civic Center at 7:30 p.m. that evening, however, the ceremony will be streamed live.
“Not everyone is able to attend graduation in person,” said Dr. Lorraine Lange, Roanoke County Superintendent of Schools. “Many students have family and friends who do not live in the Roanoke Valley, or in Virginia, or even in the United States. We wanted to create an opportunity for those who could not attend graduation in person to be able to watch the ceremonies online.”
The Salem Civic Center is generously allowing the County to use their wireless network for free to facilitate the streaming.
“We thank the Salem Civic Center for providing the network support to make this new opportunity possible,” said Lange.
In the first year of live streaming, Lionberger had the use of one camera.
“This year there will be two cameras in fixed locations about halfway down the left side of the floor,” said Lionberger. “One camera will get wide shots and cutaway shots, while the other will concentrate on the action on the stage. It would be nice to have a roving camera on the floor, but that’s not feasible with the equipment we have.”
Students from the Mass Communication Center Burton Center for Arts and Technology will be assisting Lionberger. All cameras will be manned, with Lionberger directing the production of “Graduation 2012 Live”.
“Last year I heard from a staff member at Hidden Valley High School that a student’s relative stationed in Iraq was able to watch graduation online,” said Lionberger.
On June 9 graduates, their families, and their friends will be able to watch replays of graduation with “Graduation 2012 Rewind” at the same Internet address as the streaming. In fact, playback versions of the graduation ceremonies from 2010 and 2011 are still available for viewing online.
By Debbie Adams