FHC HS athletics works with journalism class to rally Ranger Nation around FHCRangers.com
Forest Hills Central (FHC) Athletic Director Bill Kennedy has one goal: to create the most positive athletic experience possible for his student athletes. He believes that in order to create that experience it takes widespread community involvement, organized around that common goal.
With 900 athletes and a student body of 1,300, accompanied a large community stretching over several cities, Bill knew FHC had their work cut out for them.
“Our athletic programs all had their own websites ran by their coaches,” said Kennedy. “Our first time putting our sports teams online, we used [separate] sites to post practice information, bus departures, pay to play, etc.” This separation between sport websites online reinforced a feeling of separation between sports offline. Committed to overcoming this separation, in his first year as Athletic Director Bill decided to work with the Varsity News Network (VNN) to build FHCRangers.com, the official website of FHC athletics.
VNN, a Grand Rapids-based company founded in 2010, develops online sports information systems through which high schools can celebrate athletes from every sport.
Using the simple VNN publishing technology, Bill and the FHC journalism class were able to easily publish stories and pictures about all of their sporting events, athletes and teams. The dynamic FHCRangers.com website was an immediate hit amongst the Forest Hills Central community, drawing at times 300 views per day during its first season of existence.
The Forest Edge School newspaper advisor and varsity basketball coach Ken George saw VNN as a portal for his students to obtain a real-world media experience in their own classroom. As newspapers continue to transition online, VNN offered a way to mirror that transition in an academic setting, and George did so by assigning his students to cover all home matches for every sport.
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