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Rockford High School Students Use Video Talents to Help Save Lives

Advanced TV Studio Project Promotes Blood Donations and Community Service

Rockford Public Schools has a reputation for excellence – whether it is in academics, athletics, music, theater, technology, scholarships or community service. One such example is Kris DeYoung and Jason Springer’s Beyond the Rock Advanced TV Studio 3 class, which partners with community organizations to create informational and promotional videos. The partnership enables students to sharpen their script writing, filming, and post production skills in a “real life setting,” and provides valuable assistance to area nonprofits. Each year, Beyond the Rock students complete approximately 15 community service projects.

In 2013, Michigan Blood partnered with Rockford High School seniors Lynsey Bettig and Allison Reichenbach to create a two minute video explaining the importance of blood donation and how to prepare for donating.  Each step of the process – from registration, screening, and eating and drinking, to donation and the post donation station – is covered in the informative video. Rockford High School plans to use the video to promote future blood drives, as well as allow other schools to use the video to help educate students. The video is posted on YouTube, www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPB6L1e9Hkk&feature=youtu.be, and well as Michigan Blood’s website (www.miblood.org/high-school-chairperson-tools/) , and the Michigan Blood High School Heroes Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pages/Michigan-Blood-High-School-Heroes/182898225196328?ref=ts&fref=ts). 

Meredith Gremel, Director of Public Relations and Marketing for Michigan Blood, notes: “We are thrilled to partner with the talented team from Rockford High School.  Under Kris DeYoung’s leadership, the students have created a video which we can use statewide to help students understand the critical role they play in saving lives – not just now, but in becoming lifelong blood donors.  It is so important to introduce young donors to the process.  In sheer numbers, there are less young eligible millennial donors.  Also, and as the largest percentage of our donors age, these baby boomers may encounter health concerns so they can’t donate, or they may require blood themselves. High school is often the first time young adults learn about how important it is to serve your community and give blood. The students captured the essences of this so well when they invited their peers to ‘be bigger than yourself and save lives.’”

Teacher Kris DeYoung emphasized Rockford Public Schools’ commitment to helping others. "At Beyond the Rock we truly seek to do whatever we can to give back to the community. We truly believe that we need to use the skills we have been given to always give back and serve others, especially our hometown community.” In addition to the project with Michigan Blood, the students worked on several community service projects, including ones with the North Kent Service Center, North Kent Sewer Authority, Plainfield Township, Wolverine Worldwide, Oasis for Hope Non-Profit, the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, Grand Rapids Symphony, and Creative Connections. DeYoung noted, “These opportunities are great for the students from both a production standpoint as well as a personal standpoint teaching them professionalism as well as life values. We hope to continue to partner with our communities and those doing good in the world around us."