Thanks to the efforts of WEAC members Paula Hase and Liz Kysely, Wausau East High School on Tuesday was awarded a $100,000 check from Farmers Insurance to fund a new production and broadcast lab. The announcement was made at a surprise school assembly.
Paula has taken the lead on the grant project, and the school – and community – have been supporting her efforts to win the national grant for months. Her efforts also were promoted through weac.org and WEAC Direct. Throughout October, students, parents, community members and union colleagues throughout the state voted for the Wausau East grant proposal on the Farmers Insurance website as part of the Thank America’s Teachers Dream Big Teacher Challenge!
Their grant proposal was titled “Plugged in, Engaged, and Informed: Ownership of Learning through Video Production and Journalism.”
Paula coordinated the efforts, creativity, and drive between Elizabeth Kysely of the Graphics Department, who is also a Wausau EA and WEAC member; Kris Mela of WETV News; and Kurt Hornby of WETV Sports to write a proposal to convert the school’s outdated analog broadcasting lab into a new, state-of-the-art 21st century digital space.
As a result of winning the grant, the school will be equipped to compete with some of the best high school media labs nationwide. The grant will provide additional access to computers, create a sound booth, install professional grade lighting, and many other features for students to use both during and outside the school day. The lab will also be used to educate Wausau School District staff about multimedia tasks like the ability to record and edit video as well as manipulate photos. Community members, too, will have the opportunity to learn basic editing skills and utilize the new technology using the equipment for free as an outreach to the community.
The Wausau Daily Herald quoted Paula after the award presentation:
“I think this is one of those defining moments,” Hase said immediately after announcement was made, fighting back tears. “This is the highlight of my career. … This broadcasting lab will put us, really central Wisconsin, at an advantage point in direct competition (with the rest of the country.) So these are exciting times and we’re looking forward to developing this.”
In the video below, originally posted on Facebook by Wausau Daily Herald reporter Keith Uhlig, a Farmers Insurance representative presents the award to Paula’s team during a school assembly:
Read more in the Wausau Daily Herald:
WAUSAU – Paula Hase thought she was attending an anti-bullying assembly Tuesday morning with fellow teachers, staff members and students in the gym of Wausau East High School. But instead, the school’s librarian was handed an over-sized check for $100,000.