IRONDEQUOIT — Donna Dedee spent 20 years in TV news broadcasting and now can say she’s the president of her own station, so to speak.
Dedee, president of Bishop Kearney High School, was beaming as she showed a visitor the state-of-the-art control room of the new television studio WBKS.
“It really mimics what you might find at one of the professional stations,” she said, noting she was a reporter and anchor for 14 years at the local NBC affiliate, and then an anchor and news director for six years at the Fox affiliate.
Dedee added that the new Mendick Media Arts Center, which houses the TV studio, was made possible through an $87,000 gift from the Theodore and Cashmere Mendick Foundation. The Mendick family has supported Kearney for years, providing dozens of students with financial and tuition assistance, according to a school statement.
“The Mendicks felt very strongly that … this would be a great way to invest dollars in Bishop Kearney and give us a point of differentiation from the other private Catholic schools in town,” Dedee said.
Peter Mendick, vice president and secretary of the Mendick Foundation, issued a statement noting his family’s pride in supporting Kearney and the new center.
“We would like our commitment to this project to be seen as an extension of that deep pride and our ongoing desire to assist these young men and women as they get ready to take their next important steps into the future,” he said.
Located on the school’s lower level, the 1,800-square-foot center houses a TV studio, control room and editing suites. In the future, Dedee said, the center also will house a radio-broadcast studio and a print-publication center. Equipment in the new center includes three lightweight digital cameras, which can be used for both in-house and in-the-field productions; a TelePrompTer; wireless microphones; studio and portable lighting kits; computer-editing systems; a camera switcher and audio mixer; and several VHS and DVD playback and recording machines.
According to the school, the media arts center will be used for student-produced newscasts and other programming on a recurring basis. For example, students will be able to produce reports on athletic events. The students also will be able to produce shows for community access TV, Dedee said. About two dozen students who will be juniors and seniors have already signed up for an elective course in media production, she said, noting the school plans to hire a director for the new program.
Dedee added that Kearney is teaming up with St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, which will provide mentors drawn from its own student body to work with the media-production students at Kearney. In turn, the high school’s students will visit Fisher to work in the college’s TV-production program, according to Lauren Vicker, chairwoman of Fisher’s communication/journalism department.
“The opportunities that will be created by this innovative program are limitless for all students involved,” Dedee said. “And we look forward to playing a role in helping to shape the careers of those potential journalists for years.”
“I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for TV broadcasting,” Dedee added. However, she noted that she won’t be a teacher at the center.
“I’ll be happy to come in and be a guest lecturer,” she said.