The Journalism Education Association has awarded Jeff Kuchno of Oakville High School, St. Louis, a Special Recognition Broadcast Adviser honor as part of the National High School Broadcast Adviser of the Year program. He will be recognized Nov. 18 at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in Dallas.
The program is designed to honor outstanding high school broadcast advisers and their exemplary work from the previous year, as well as throughout their careers. Title sponsor for the award is the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College.
Kuchno began advising broadcast in 2009 as a club at his school, and within one year, it was turned into a course that now serves more than double the initial enrollment. His passion for helping his students and providing unique opportunities is what has helped his program grow and serve as a staple in the Oakville High School community.
“Jeff Kuchno’s work with students is outstanding,” OHS Assistant Principal Ross Bullington said. “He aids without reprimand, corrects without disparagement, and teaches by example. His efforts to improve his students’ attention to their subject is instrumental in helping them recognize their potential.”
Many former students can attest to Kuchno’s work and know that he had a significant impact in their ability to pursue broadcast as a career.
“He allows students to speak their minds on ideas, and gives incredibly constructive technical and ideological feedback,” former student Ryan Huegerich said. “He lets students discover the right answer, rather than flat out telling them.”
This process of working through story ideas, presentation and communication is what Kuchno pushes his students to understand and to master. It what makes the school community excited to watch every student broadcast, and it is what encourages the students to continue working in the broadcast program.
“To watch them start with an idea and turn it into a compelling visual story three weeks later is extremely rewarding,” Kuchno said. “It is truly a blessing to have the opportunity to guide students through the journey of a ‘real-life’ hands-on experience.” And his students know that is what they’ve received. Huegerich, who now works for a video production company, knows that every day he employs the skills learned in Kuchno’s class, from the technical to the ideological. But it is what Kuchno teaches beyond the skills that resonates most.
“His commitment to producing knowledgeable storytellers,” Huegerich said, “will never cease.”
Founded in 1924, JEA supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, by promoting professionalism, by encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and by fostering an atmosphere which encompasses diversity yet builds unity. It is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.