WGBY celebrates regional educators

SPRINGFIELD, MASS. — While the call letters WGBY may best be known in western New England in association with the broadcasting of PBS television content, many thousands in the region have also felt the effects of the station’s work in education.
WGBY not only facilitates regional teachers’ access to PBS Learning American Graduate logoMedia, which provides 100,000-plus digital and supplemental classroom resources, but also serves as an implementing partner of the American Graduate initiative.
On Thursday, April 7th, the public television stations WGBY and WGBH will be honoring notable individuals from these programs as well as the Pioneer Valley Teachers of Excellence, recently announced by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and this year’s American Graduate Champions.
The American Graduate program is an effort supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in cooperation with 80 other public radio and television stations across 30 states.
The American Graduate program uses media to spotlight the efforts of educators and volunteers doing a range of “heroic” work in the field of community education. The public media initiative provides access to classroom materials and content to support teachers, parents, caregivers and mentors who are helping at-risk students overcome key learning obstacles on the path from preschool through graduation.
WGBY’s Director of Community Engagement and Education Vanessa Pabón-Hernandez says the American Graduate project represents a vital effort addressing a still-relevant issue.
“Being able to highlight individuals making a difference in the community on-air,” says Pabón-Hernandez, “reminds me daily that it really takes one consistent adult to make a difference in the life of a teen — and it can help motivate them to graduate.”
An “American Graduate Champion,” according to the program’s website is one who “commits their time, skills and resources to make sure that young people succeed.” The program adds, “He or she is an individual who plays an active role in improving educational outcomes for students. A champion is a parent who is active in the lives of young people or a volunteer who creates a positive environment daily for youth in their community.”
Among those being celebrated at WGBY’s private April 7 event is the Claudia and Steven Perles Family Foundation, the “vision and commitment of which make much of our American Graduate work possible,” according to WGBY general manager Russel J. Peotter.
This year’s Westfield area American Graduate Champions are: Christy Roselli, Hava Preye, Joanne Hewins, Megan Bilodeau, Pauline McClaflin and Suzanne Scallion.

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