It’s graduation season in Central Texas.
In the Killeen area, that means seven high school commencement ceremonies at the Bell County Expo Center in four days.
Before the lights dim, the bands play and the cap-and-gown clad graduates step into the arena, many hands must prepare the venue to serve as a broadcasting center.
Randy Hudson, KISD-TV station manager and audiovisual teacher, directed the annual hoisting Monday of two giant screens on either side of the stage at the Expo Center.
Those screens, 18 feet tall and 24 feet wide, will serve as windows and magnifiers for the thousands who will attend seven graduation ceremonies and an untold number of viewers watching from service sites around the world.
Working with Fort Hood and a handful of technology sponsors, KISD broadcasts the graduations overseas, locally on Time Warner Cable and online through the school district’s website.
Service members who are deployed will appear on the giant screens when their loved ones walk across the stage during the graduation ceremony.
While numbers can change, student families signed up to participate in the “Gradcast” total 44, with connection points in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Qatar.
Students with deployed parents also have an opportunity to arrange a one-on-one video teleconference with their deployed loved ones. There are 36 scheduled private connections planned.
KISD-TV staff, along with two students and two former students raised the two 150-pound screens Monday.
Crews are working on lights, audio, wiring and helping school leaders conduct rehearsals leading up to the first graduation today.
Audience members may notice students dressed in black shirts on the floor running cameras. Teams of eight television crewmembers record each ceremony.
High school students work alongside the adult crew, where audiovisual classwork becomes an authentic broadcast with worldwide distribution.