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50 years and still growing

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Wearing his CHS Today T-shirt, Joe Glowacki looks over a25-year-old newspaper article about CHS Today.
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LaTerrian Harrison and Emily Priceprepare theirvan to broadcast a football game, something they have not been able to do in the past.
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CHS Today is run from a computer and can be taken on the road to football games where remote broadcasts are made. Trent Eklund and Lily Gay help with the broadcast.
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Students work behind the scenes of CHS Today over 25 years ago.

By KATE THURSTON - kthurston@newsexaminer.com

Fifty years after it began over a P.A. system, CHS Today is bigger and better than ever.

In 1969-70, when Connersville Hgh School first opened at its current location, Joe Glowacki started the journey of a program now called CHS Today.

“I basically started this type of program in the nation, from what I have been told. We are one of the few that go live to students, community and worldwide. For a small town that is pretty darn good,” he laughed. We started off doing P.A. announcements, we talked the principal into letting us do the newscast. By the end of the year, the studio was finished in the Columbia building.”

The first production was a documentary about the school.

“They used that with the grand opening once everything was finished. It was done all in-house. The first show aired in the spring of 1970 and they were still photographs with an audio track. At that time, we had about 12-15 students in the media class. Back then, we had morning classes like now,” Glowacki said.

He retired at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

Now, a former student has taken over the newsroom, Sydnee Toschlog-Jobe.a

“Last year I gave her input, the first two or three weeks I helped. I told her when the time comes to push me away, just tell me. I wanted to help as much as I could to help her get on her feet,” Glowacki said. “Sydnee keeps her numbers up and she does well.”

Glowacki said she has brought everything up to date, it really looks good. He recalls going into the studio after Jobe took over and she had completely gutted and started over.

“I’m in my second year at CHS and I’ve kind of completely changed everything. We came in over the summer when I was first hired and tore out all of the old studio equipment and computers and updated the studio and our computers. We were able to get the Adobe Creative Cloud suite and immediately started using professional software. We kept the original format of the show but have updated graphics and our intros and outros,” Jobe said.

In her first year, Jobe applied for a grant to update the studio.

“I applied for a grant with the Fayette Community Foundation and we were awarded with enough money to buy all new studio cameras and accessories for them as well as new field cameras, mics and some lighting and tripods. So we were able to completely transfer the program from analog to digital within the first year of my being here.”

Currently, CHS Today does a daily newscast that is live on TV3 and replayed for the school at the end of the day.

“It takes two periods a day to prepare and produce the show. In second period the students write scripts and prepare videos for the day and in third period my seniors prepare graphics, teleprompter and do run-throughs before we go live to TV3 at 10:35 a.m. Currently, we have 17 students on the CHS Today crew. In total, adding our pre-production crew and another production class, we have 44 students involved in my upper level courses. My intro courses for the year have about 36 students preparing for CHS Today.”

Keeping up with technology was a challenge for the school through the years but they always managed to make it work.

“We tried to keep up with the technology, we didn’t have the money. When we got our first film camera that was a big deal. When we went to color, it was tube color and there were issues with that but thank goodness for the foundation for the grant we got. We went from reel to reel tape to cassette tapes then now to HD. One of my things I started in college was try to make things do more than what they were made to do, that was like my motto. I went to a class reunion last weekend and some of my former students were there and we talked about how we did things that machines weren’t meant to do, we had fun with that.”

Many former CHS Today students have chased after the broadcasting career while some haven’t but have remained in Connersville and making big strides for the community.

“Former students that are out working professionally, I take pride in them. But I also take pride in my students that are still here in our hometown working. Like Anna Dungan or Andy Yaryan. They always tell me there is something they learned. The responsibility and they know what they have to do, I always emphasized that. When they were on the air, they had to represent everyone. Anyone in the world can run across this and see it.

Matt McCutcheon, a former student and now a news reporter for WTHR-TV says CHS Today helped get him where he is today and Glo taught him a lot.

“Everything we learned and the technology we used rivaled what was found in professional TV newsrooms. We had so much freedom, which didn’t box in our creativity and it really taught us that the sky is the limit,” McCutcheon said. “That led to me accidentally becoming known as ‘Matt the Weatherman’ when one day fellow student Amy McCarty suggested we emulate the forecast presentation that you see on the news. I never expected the attention that got.

“I remember a superintendent who came to meet with schools leaders for the day saw my weather report and wanted to meet me. We knew we were onto something and the rest is history. The night of our senior year parent-teacher open house I was actually with fellow classmate and now-CPD Lieutenant Ryan Sherwood at WISH-TV where we job shadowed for the day. My parents still recall being called ‘Matt the Weatherman’s parents’ the whole night as they met with my teachers.”

“One invaluable personal lesson Glo taught me was to believe in myself more. Part of our grade came from our self-evaluation and I gave myself a B+ and listed the areas where I thought I needed to refine my presentation and improve. He wrote back ‘Don’t ever sell yourself short. A+’ That sticks with me to this day especially when I have a difficult decision to make,” McCutcheon said.

Glo also taught Brian Halberstadt of WDTN, Ed Greer and Greg Stottelmyer of News Channel 36.

Jobe said CHS Today is growing and is definitely going places.

“Last year we submitted to state contest with the Indiana Association of School Broadcasters and got honorable mention for our newscast, which is a huge accomplishment for our first outing at competition. So, we have hit the ground running in my first two years and I can’t wait to keep going.”

To celebrate 50 years, the crew is going to produce some special segments.

“We have actually been in contact with some CHS Today alumni and are doing a small series for our 50th year focusing on alumni and what CHS Today was like when they were part of it as well as what they are up to now. Our first episode should be airing in about a week or two so we’re very excited about that. We are also adding in a Flashback Friday addition this week where we show old segments on CHS Today. We plan to focus on the anniversary years and hopefully get some interviews with students from the very first class.”