RamTV – Panic at the Studio!

Ram TV's advisor, Mr.Parkin, resigns his position, leading to huge changes in the program this year, passing the position to Mr. Ritcher


Savannah Hirsch

Mr.Mark Ritcher teaching the new students in his first hour Broadcasting class

Savannah Hirsch, Reporter

Highland Ram TV lost its instructor and filming equipment over the summer creating roadblocks in producing new content. Mr. Mark Ritcher became the new Broadcasting teacher and Ram TV adviser this year after Mr. Tori Parkin left. Parkin explained that he needed to be close to his family who had recently moved to Utah.

Ms. Rhonda Naftz, the administrator of the district’s Career Technical Education program, said, “Since Broadcasting is funded separately from school funds, everything purchased for the program still belongs to the state CTE division, not Highland or School district 25. When the decision was made to not replace Mr. Parkin with another Broadcasting instructor all the supplies and equipment needed to be removed from the building. Some of the MAC computers were resigned to the Journalism program at HHS, some of the cameras are being used in other CTE programs. Most of the items are in storage boxes, we can hold on to the items for one year while looking for another teacher. If the HHS administration would decide to hire another CTE certified broadcasting teacher next year then the items will be back in the TV studio.”

Ritcher is recognized in his background in film production, which is why Parkin and Principal Brad Wallace, wanted Mark to take over the position. Although he has the experience, he does not have the required qualifications of a CTE teacher, which is why he does not have permission to use the equipment in his new classes.

Wallace explained that Ritcher “just needs to get his qualifications” and the studio equipment can be returned for student use. 

With the loss of Ram TV’s equipment, Ritcher set goals for the class to push forward and to continue filming and creating new content with a bit of a twist. He said that students will be producing a variety of media that suits their interests and skillsets including podcasts, short films, web series, video game streaming, documentaries, music videos, journalistic reporting, independent films, and other categories of media, along with continuing Ram TV. He also explained that he wants to start “two-fold” news, meaning that Ram TV will be more than just Highland news, but a TV network with maximum content for students’ creativity.

His class will also be learning how to strengthen skills that are necessary to know in a “real world view of production,” such as scriptwriting and casting. With a brand new class setup, all media will be started from scratch, no presets, no practice, no outline. All publishing will be straight off of the whiteboard, revision, criticism, and progress will follow in order to reach new goals.

Wallace explained that his vision is whatever Mr. Ritcher wants to form the program into. He has confidence in Ritcher’s skills and abilities to form the Broadcasting program into a class to develop skills that will form into successful careers.

Naftz said, “I was impressed with all levels of this program. Mr. Parkin was a great teacher and was able to bring a level of professionalism to the productions. The willingness of students to help film projects for other schools and the district office was very appreciated.”

Although the teacher plays a huge role in the classroom, it is up to the students to do the work and to make an amazing program. Mr. Parkin said, “Because of the positive influence Ram TV has had on those who have produced it, students who are in it, or watch it, Highland needs to continue Ram TV. it has changed so many students’ lives and is a sure part of the Ram Fam! It rose to become the best high school broadcasting program in the state simply by following the Highland Ideal: that the Right Attitude Means Success.”

Ritcher explained the transition for Ram TV this year as, “the opportunity to set and exceed expectations – the real-world experience of building and managing projects from the ground up to build something inspiring and new. In short, the greatest positive is the opportunity it brings – now, we have to go out and seize it.”