The Communications Arts Academy at August Martin High School in Jamaica unveiled its upgraded state-of-the-art multi-media studio on Friday, made possible through more than $1 million in funds allocated by the late City Councilman Tom White Jr., for whom the space is named.
Studio 316, also known as the Honorable Thomas White Jr. Media Center, features numerous high-definition cameras, a teleprompter, an editing suite equipped with the Final Cut Pro program, X-Serve Video Server, a multi-format live switcher, digital mixing console and upgraded studio lighting.
“The spirit of Councilman White is going to live on, and you guys are going to do tremendous things in this studio,” Principal Anthony Cromer told students. “The expectations on you all just jumped ten-fold, because we expect so many great things.”
Cromer and Assistant Principal Michele Washington both said White’s decision to fund the studio came from his strong belief in education and the need for it to evolve so students can compete in the global economy.
Even before the studio was upgraded August Martin students had made great strides in the communications field. In 2003, they won a national student Emmy award in technical achievement from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, for a documentary entitled “A Black History Joint,” among other honors.
Communications student Bradley Macena, 17, of Jamaica, who aspires to work behind the scenes as a movie producer or film editor, said he can’t wait to work in the studio and learn how to use the new gear.
“I’m excited because I have been waiting since my freshman year to get in there and start touching equipment and learning new things,” Macena said. “I was undecided about what career I wanted and then when I learned more about communication arts, I became attracted to it.”
The school has created partnerships with the Apollo Theater Academy, Downtown Community Television Center and Fox TV to help provide the students with further hands-on training.
White’s son, Brian, and mother, Marie were in attendance at the ribbon-cutting, along with several area lawmakers including White’s successor Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica).
“This is truly an honor and a testament to my father’s legacy of improving education for young people,” Bryan White said. “I think August Martin has benefited from his efforts, and the students will definitely have a studio where they can use their imaginations and create a lot of great things.”