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Early Risers

by Mark Harris
One of Wheeler's most valuable and unique assets is rising to meet the needs of 21st Century learners. Read about what's coming in the new year in this latest blog post.


Monday, October 30th started early for the WELH team, at 12:15 AM, to be exact. That’s when Wheeler Broadcasting director David Schiano got word that a freak storm had knocked out power in Seekonk. For some reason the backup generator hadn’t automatically kicked in, and Rhode Island Public Radio, which delivers its signal to a potential audience of one million by way of Wheeler’s tower, was off the air. Dave called “Big Mike” Larivee and they headed out to the transmitter to meet with RI Public Radio engineers. The 10 minute trip took 2 hours. Trees blocked the road, and National Grid had to find tractors to clear the way. Another section of roadway was under two feet of water, and curbs were totally invisible. By 2 AM Dave and Mike finally made it to the Farm, and after some tricky work in high winds, heavy rain, and darkness, the station was back on air for the morning commute. For two days the station ran off the generator, until land power was finally restored. The guys made it home and to bed by 4:30.

David and Mike also have day jobs, of course. The Wheeler Broadcasting studio is the site for 5 Upper School courses and a host of Upper and Middle School radio shows. The department, both staffers and students, shoots and edits video of school events ranging from playoff basketball games and dance concerts to the Holiday Festival. The Lower School musical was simulcast in Isenberg Auditorium last week, for overflow crowds eager for closeups of Munchkins and travelers making their way to Emerald City. An edited version of the play, like all Wheeler Theater productions, was ready for viewing world-wide within a few days. The Wheeler Broadcasting archive now contains over 150 recorded events.

The cameras, microphones, sound boards, and editing software are all housed in the Whitaker Building’s brand-new Digital Production Studio, where students of all ages are producing everything from class videos of whaling adventures using green-screen technology to independently-written and produced documentaries and action films.

The future of the program is more exciting still -- and only weeks away. Next semester the first Aerie podcasting class is being offered to Upper School students, and the Gilder Center’s recording studio is being brought online as an additional resource for audio-engineering and small-group work with performing arts faculty and music groups.

Opportunity and innovation -- this is what teaching and learning in school look like in the 21st Century! And the year 2018 promises to have its share...
216 Hope Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02906-2246
Phone: (401) 421-8100
FAX: (401) 751-7674

Founded 1889

The Wheeler School is an independent coeducational college preparatory day school for Nursery, Pre-K, K-Grade 12 serving Providence, RI, Greater Providence and Greater Boston. The Hamilton School welcomes Grades 1-8 with language-based learning differences.