by Larry Austin
The next airing of Grand Island High School's Viking Vision news program establishes another milestone for the student-driven news program.
The taping Wednesday at the school marked the 250th production of the show that is in its fourth school year, after starting halfway through 2009-10, on Jan. 20, 2010.
Mark Gorton, audio-visual technician and Viking Vision TV Club adviser, estimated more than 125 students have anchored, reported or taped segments for the show during its lifetime. The anniversary broadcast, and recent shows available at schooltube.com, have included messages from about 20 Viking Vision alumni, all recent GIHS grads.
"It's always great to see the alumni, find out how they're doing in college, and just see what their favorite memories are from years ago," Gorton said.
Gorton himself, though, can't pick his own favorite memory.
"I laugh and have a great time pretty much every newscast that I do with the kids," Gorton said. "They're just so much fun."
"There have been so many momentous ones that every time I go back and watch them it just gives me a smile on my face," he said.
Gorton notes that this year's group of Viking Vision anchors and reporters are the first to take part in the club all four years of high school. He said he's seen the development of reporting and speaking skills in students as they've grown from freshmen to upperclassmen.
"You really see how polished they've become in this field and on camera," he said.
Senior Ashley Serianni is in her third year with Viking Vision. She anchors about once or twice a month and helps write scripts, skills that will help her once she gets to college.
"I took a lot of interest in Viking Vision, especially after seeing it in my freshman year, and it's actually carried through. I plan on going to college for broadcasting," she said.
The show has grown over the years to include off-campus reports, such as one from DECA regionals at Lockport High School.
"It's definitely a chance to really find out what's going on in the school, and tell everyone else what's going on. I've met a bunch of great people through Viking Vision, and Mr. Gorton has been a great influence in my time here," Serianni said.
Senior Jenna DelSignore began at Viking Vision in her sophomore year for the opportunity to develop her public speaking, and to be on TV. No one is turned away from having a chance to work with the club.
"Everyone was so supportive at Viking Vision, and everyone is so upbeat and happy. It's just a lot of fun," she said.
"We open up to all grades, 9 through 12," Gorton said. "They don't have to have any kind of experience with broadcast writing or mass media."
The show also helps students stay connected with each other and with family.
"It's all over the Internet. Anyone can see it. I send my Viking Vision links to my aunt in Ireland and she watches it with my cousins. I've gotten calls from teachers in middle school and elementary school saying what a great job I did on Viking Vision and how it was nice to see me delivering the news," DelSignore said.