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Education Story:

Investing in the Future

How a partnership between Polar and local schools prepares students for life beyond the classroom

Lights. Camera. Action.

At Northern Cass School in Hunter, North Dakota, a classroom has been transformed into a makeshift television studio. One student stands behind a camera while two more, sitting in front of a green screen, recite their lines for an upcoming news segment.

These students are part of Jaguar Vision, Northern Cass’s elective broadcasting course. Dan Hollister, an English instructor at Northern Cass, serves as instructor for the program.

“We like to help students get comfortable interviewing people, discussing issues with people, and we also like to make them comfortable with the technical aspects of it,” Dan said. 

With support from Polar Communications, broadcasting programs like this one have been established in rural schools across North Dakota. Polar donates equipment, software, and training for the programs, but the content is driven entirely by the students: everything from daily announcements and lunch menus to sports highlights and band concerts. 

And the content they create goes beyond the walls of the classroom; each school’s channel can be viewed by the public on Polar’s cable network.

“If these elective classes can mimic a real-life scenario that is more like the workplace or what they’re going to be doing once they get out of school, that’s so much better than me just standing at the front of the classroom and telling them what to do,” Don said. “I think it’s an excellent way to learn.”

Freedom to Be Creative

Students enrolled in broadcasting courses like Jaguar Vision learn every aspect of video production, from storyboarding to operating audio equipment to finally editing all of the pieces together to tell a story. But more important than any technical skill, Don says, are the confidence and passion that many students discover in broadcasting class.

“It’s freedom to be creative,” Don said. “There are so many kids who come through school and the classroom English classes, math classes, they just aren’t doing it for them. When they come to broadcasting, they really flourish.”

Evan McLaughlin was inspired to join Aggie Vision, Park River’s student broadcasting program, after watching the cable channel as a younger student.

“I remember seeing some of the funny stuff that kids would do. It made me realize, ‘I kind of want to do that.’ To go out and film, make people laugh, and just be interesting,” Evan said.

Aggie Vision gave Evan a place to be himself. In broadcasting class he could express his creative ideas, develop them with his peers, and bring them to life in front of the camera. 

The program also gave Evan an opportunity to work with students of all ages.

“In school, you don’t usually get to talk to people in other grades,” Evan said. “In this class, you can make some new friendships you never knew you could have before.”

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Keeping Communities Connected

Broadcasting class is an opportunity for students from different ages, backgrounds, and interests to come together around a creative goal: producing creative content to be shared with their classmates and neighbors. 

But students aren’t the only people benefitting from this partnership between Polar and local schools.

“We have quite a few stakeholders that watch the station,” Don said. “Rather than going online and looking at all of the different calendars, getting information overload, they can go to this one cable channel and watch these nice, short features. It gives them an overview of the important things that are going on.”

With technical support and a cable platform from Polar, schools like Northern Cass and Park River are able to keep their students engaged, stakeholders informed, and communities connected.

“Especially for a rural school, we’re very much tied to the communities around us for support. This whole idea that the school is just the school, it’s not true anymore,” Don said. “The entire community and all the stakeholders are involved with the school. And it makes it a better place to be.”

Polar is proud to invest in immersive experiences, like broadcasting class, that prepare students for futures beyond the classroom. Contact us today to discover how Polar can empower your students! 

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