Trinity Hall Wins $10,000 Grant for “Pop-Up Production Studio”

By Nicole LoRusso, Editor-in-Chief

The OceanFirst Foundation’s “Model Classroom Grant” of $10,000 was recently awarded to Trinity Hall for its proposal to fund a “pop-up production studio” for the school. Theresa Kiernan, Director of Advancement and Admissions, worked on the school’s application for the grant to ensure that the school would fill all of the necessary credentials.

The OceanFirst Foundation, which supports the grants, sends out notifications to all of the local high schools to inform them of upcoming grant opportunities so that they can apply. In anticipation of the application deadline, the OceanFirst Foundation also runs a workshop to better each school’s chances of receiving the grant.

“During the workshop they give tips on what to include in the application and they give further information on how to be successful. It is also a good opportunity to meet the people that will be reading the applications and deciding on the grant recipient,” Kiernan said.

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Melissa Whelan and Kristy Geoghan received the OceanFirst Foundation $10,000 grant on behalf of Trinity Hall. 
Photo courtesy of Trinity Hall.

To celebrate the announcement of the grant recipients, the OceanFirst Foundation invited representatives from each school that applied to a cocktail party and program at the Manasquan River Golf Club on Oct. 13. Kristy Geogan, Director of Development, and Melissa Whelan, Technology Director, attended to represent Trinity Hall and accepted the grant on behalf of the school.

“They take the time at the cocktail party to explain to everyone in attendance what the grant is and then who it goes to,” said Kiernan. “After announcing the recipient, they hand you a foam check, which really makes you feel like a winner.”

As proposed, the administration and faculty plan to create a “pop-up production studio” with the $10,000 grant. Since there is not enough room in the current school building for a classroom solely dedicated to a production studio, the portable studio will still allow students interested in digital media production to set up and use the equipment in various available spaces around the school. Students with a passion for digital media have already begun meeting as a new club called Digital Monarchs, but the equipment will be available to all students to use as needed for academic and other purposes.

“Right now, students are limited with phones to make videos for projects, especially in terms of editing. As many projects in the classroom do require video, the students without a smartphone can’t actively participate,” said Kiernan. “The new equipment will make video recording and editing equitable and accessible for everyone.”

The equipment that will be purchased with the grant funds include a professional video camera, GoPro cameras, audio and lighting equipment, Macbook Pro computers loaded with editing software, a green screen and a white backdrop. Kiernan plans to order the equipment so it will arrive by winter break, with hopes that students can be trained to use it at the beginning of the new year.

“For the girls interested in this field, they will be practicing with industry-standard equipment and gaining legitimate skills–skills that will take them over the norm in comparison to other students,” said Kiernan. “It will contribute to the community in a fun, positive way.”

The students are especially excited about the pop-up production studio. “I’m looking forward to being able to have broadcast news because it’s one thing we’ve wanted to do for a while,” said junior Emily Knepple, who hopes that the Digital Monarchs can broadcast updates and reminders to the community on a weekly, or even daily, basis. “I’m excited to actually get a legit [sic] digital setup and green screen for [broadcasting].”

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