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Digital Media students to provide accessible sports, news streaming with new funding

The Sandy High Digital Media department is one of a select number of winners of the OnPoint Community Builders prize. With the $2,000 award, digital media instructor Andrew Schaffer and his students plan to bring accessible Sandy High sports commentary and news to a streaming service near you.

For more than a year, the Sandy High Digital Media department has been working to set up an online streaming outlet for sporting and other local events. Part of what has held up the project is a need for funding.

Sandy High was among 10 finalists in the 2020 OnPoint Prize campaign. Four schools, selected by the OnPoint Prize Committee, received $2,000. The school with the top number of community votes received $5,000.

"Sandy High School's Digital Media Career Technical Education department, along with Pioneer Digital Media Club, aims to offer live multicamera broadcasts of sports, news and events from the Sandy High School campus," Schaffer said. "The Community Builder grant funds (will) directly provide accessibility for deaf and hard-of-hearing students and community members by providing closed captioning software for broadcast. This aspect of the Pioneer Digital Media Broadcasting program will develop and graduate students ready to enter the work force in creative digital media fields or move on to two- and four-year colleges to further advance their creative skills."

The Community Builder winners were announced Tuesday, May 12.

"We need and want to provide closed captioning to our viewers," Schaffer said. "The best solution we've found is $319 per month."

He added that "one of the $2,000 prizes would cover about six months of service — most of the next school year."

Besides making sure the program's videos are accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing, Schaffer said he's hoping the broadcasts will also make the Sandy community more accessible for those who have moved away but hope to remain connected.

"The Sandy High School athletics and journalism departments would also have a greater continuous connection through the Sandy community through these broadcasts, providing those who are local — and those who have moved on to other areas — give them a chance to remain connected to their hometown," Schaffer said.

"It's important to make everything we do accessible to everybody. We are a part of the community in a very direct way. I went to Sandy High School, and I have a deep connection to SHS and the Sandy community," Schaffer added. "I know for people who moved, I think they'd really like to be able to check in and stay connected. I think that's really neat. It's very exciting (to have won). I appreciate the community support that made this happen, and I'm very excited to get things up and running."

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