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Telecom, NNPS-TV support modified graduation ceremonies

graduate at lectern; cameraman recording
The NNPS-TV production team records a Heritage student giving his graduation speech.
Beth Scott photos

Telecom and NNPS-TV have been making adjustments and lending support as usual to the school division during a time of highly unusual circumstances. With the COVID-19 restrictions in place, NNPS graduations are changing and morphing as plans are made to honor this year's graduates in a safe way.

Telecom will be broadcasting, video-recording, and live-streaming the modified graduation ceremonies, which of course means modifications in the way that is accomplished.

The good news is Ray Price, Telecom Supervisor, won't have to park the large TV truck under the Hampton Coliseum, where there is barely enough clearance for it to fit. But the many changes will bring other challenges as the graduation ceremonies are so different from in the past: outdoors instead of indoors, one student at a time instead of a long line of graduates, no crowd of family members, and no processional. Speeches by administrators, school board members, and students will be pre-recorded.

The Telecom crew will have to adapt to make the ceremonies look good on TV and keep the broadcast running smoothly. The crew will be made up of Telecom staff, students, and graduates.

The NNPS-TV production team has been busy with preparations for the ceremonies, too, including recording all of the speeches. NNPS-TV Station Manager Jim Anklam and Producer Nik Long spent two days recording graduation speeches in the school board auditorium.

TV personnel record graduate at lectern
Jim Anklam, left, and Nik Long, right, record a graduation speech in the school board auditorium.

They recorded one high school each hour so there would be social distancing. Plenty of hand sanitizer was available and the team wore masks for safety.

The senior class president, the valedictorian, the salutatorian, and the principal all had their messages recorded, and yes, a tissue box was nearby for emotional moments.

Some of the schools did things differently, with students introducing the next speaker or with different titles than the usual, so all of the "bits and pieces" will be put together to create the final video. Anklam and Long will be editing those pieces into place, and also will be recording NNPS school board members giving their remarks.

The team has also been getting footage of Senior Spirit Week activities, and will be at each graduation to get highlights for "This Just In," NNPS-TV's weekly news show.

Team work, creativity, and "going with the flow" made the preparations for Graduation 2020 a success. This year's graduates have learned the same thing: be prepared, but be prepared to adapt.