F ox Ch apel A rea Sch ool D ist rict
T elet h on T rad it ion Cont inues M on ey R ai s ed f or L u k e H ad ley F ou n d at i on t all started 20 years ago at Fox Chapel Area high School when then student government sponsor Jeanne White approached television production teacher Doug Martin. She relayed that the students wanted to do a coordinated fundraising effort to make a positive impact through community service — but they needed one major project that they could all work on together. Without much thought, Mr. Martin blurted out, “Do a telethon!” When Mrs. White expressed her enthusiasm, Mr. Martin thought more about it and realized what he had gotten himself, and his young television production program, into. however, he and Mrs. White worked together to gather the support of district and high school administrators and staff for the idea of a telethon. Then he led his secondyear television production students to plan and produce the first-ever FCTV telethon that was scheduled to be broadcast live during lunch periods at the high school on the last school day before winter break. According to Mr. Martin, the telethon had to be produced so that it did not interrupt classes during the school day, but that every student could have the opportunity to participate if he or she chose. The first telethon, which raised about $850 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, has since become an annual event. During the following years, the marketing/ management students became involved. under the direction of business education teacher Jill Tabis, the marketing/ management students choose the event’s theme and plan the marketing and promotion of the event. The television production department continues to handle all aspects of the actual live production. To add to the excitement, local television and radio personalities have been invited to appear on camera.
IN Fox Chapel Area
Above: Jeff Hadley appeared with Assistant Principal Susan Gentile at the telethon. At right: Business education students tally donations during the telethon.
by the fifth year, with all buildings in the school district wired with fiber optics, the telethon could be broadcast at all of the schools, and each school participated in the fundraising event. The telethon was also broadcast to homes throughout the district via various cable companies. The students in the Fox Chapel Area School District have donated more than $422,000 to various charities through their annual telethon over the last 20 years. The 2009 telethon raised $33,300 for the luke hadley Foundation. Students, teachers, and parent representatives from all of the schools in the district participated by planning their own fund drives and making donations at the telethon. The telethon theme was “All Aboard the hadley express.” Jeff hadley, a founder of the luke hadley Foundation, was also present during this year’s telethon. his son, luke, was born with an extremely rare chromosome disorder called ring 14. luke was one of 65 documented cases worldwide, and he lost his life on October 30, 2008, at the age of two. Following his passing, the hadley family formed the luke hadley Foundation in luke’s memory. Mr. hadley, and his wife, Kara hadley, are teachers in the Fox Chapel Area School District and residents of Indiana Township.
“There are no words to describe how touched Kara and I felt by the overwhelming support given to the luke hadley Foundation throughout the school district leading up to and on the day of the telethon. The students, families, and staff that make up the Fox Chapel Area School are second to none,” Mr. hadley states. “The tremendous support given to our foundation is going to bring an endless amount of smiles to medically fragile children in the Pittsburgh area.” besides rallying the school community in support of a cause and raising funds for that worthy cause, the experience of the telethon is invaluable for his students says Mr. Martin. “To plan and produce the telethon live — that is a learning experience you can’t replicate by just sitting down in class.”
Published on Apr 1, 2010