Last week, another class of students from the Hope Leadership Academy “graduated” from MSG Classroom. Ten students spent the fall learning about the media industry and what it takes to succeed in a television career. They met twice a week, once at Madison Square Garden offices to meet with staff and learn interviewing skills, camera and production work, and much more. And the teens typically met the day before at Children’s Aid to prepare for those classes.
The end product was “Slap Shot,” a professional quality news interview program. Roberto Rivera interviewed Anthony DuClair, a 19-year-old rookie star for the New York Rangers. And Nyuma Gumaneh interviewed the legendary Al Trautwig, an award-winning sportscaster who has been a mainstay for the New York Rangers, Knicks, and Yankees in addition to being a consistent presence at the Olympics since 2000, among many other pursuits in sports journalism. He is an enthusiastic supporter of MSG Classroom and told Nyuma that her interview of him was the best one that had ever been done.
Since 2008, about 120 students from Hope Leadership Academy have participated in MSG Classroom, which has won a 2013 Beacon Award* for its educational impact. The program is hugely important to these young people, regardless of whether they ever decide to make broadcast journalism or television their career.
One of the most important things they learn is teamwork. “Everyone has a significant contribution,” said Danny Morris, an assistant director in the Adolescence Division who has overseen the running of the program since 2008, but began directly managing it 2 years ago. “Teamwork isn’t just a concept after MSG Classroom. They see that everyone is a critical part of a big project.”
Danny also talked about how the kids get a better sense of their own value. They can see themselves as being a part of something great. “The people at Madison Square Garden treat these guys like they’re rock stars,” said Danny. “And it sinks in for the students that, yes, ‘I deserve this.’”
Among other things, participants also learn to dress for success by visiting workplaces twice a week. They also get to be thankful. For example, they will be over-the-top thankful for the courtside Knicks tickets they received from Al Trautwig at the end of last week’s ceremony.
More importantly, though, they will certainly be thankful for a once in a lifetime experience that should pay dividends in their college careers and far beyond.
*=MSG won a 2013 Beacon Award in the Education category for the 2012 Fall Semester of their “MSG Classroom” program. The Beacon Awards are presented annually by The Association of Cable Communicators (ACC) and recognize programming networks, cable systems, and cable associations for excellence in communications and public affairs.