For the past two years, Brunswick City School’s nationally award winning backpack journalism and video production program, the BEAT, has been inducting alumni into their newly established Hall of Fame. This year, two more alumni were inducted in May; “Disco” Gabe Wasylko and Rohan Srivastava.
Wasylko and Srivastava, Brunswick High School Class of 2015 graduates, were active members in grades six through 12. During their time in the program, they acted as positive role models to other BEAT students and helped pave the way to success for future members.
Wasylko was selected as a student video reporter for President Obama’s press conference at Cuyahoga Community College in 2011. That same year, he also helped produce the BEAT’s award-winning Ford Focus “Focus on Schools” video and was part of a team that interviewed singer Demi Lovato.
Wasylko was the first BEAT student to take on the management of Brunswick High School’s football scoreboard, initiating many improvements and laying the foundation for other BEAT reporters to follow his footsteps. He was also the first BEAT reporter to be an Akron Rubberducks intern and is currently their scoreboard operator. This has opened the door for several other BEAT students to become Akron Rubberducks interns as well.
“One thing I’ve taken [from the program] is the ability to be professional in a work setting because the BEAT really teaches us how to work with adults,” Wasylko says of the BEAT. “We don’t talk about age as a number… We don’t talk about age as being anything. We just look at our actions.”
In 2011, Srivastava was also a key producer in the Ford Focus on Schools contest. In 2012, Srivastava won first place in the annual Media Communicators Association-International (MCA-I) video contest for his “Gotta Keep Reading” music video. This video also won Srivastava “Best Music Video” at the Alliance for Community Video’s Hometown Video Awards. Along with winning multiple awards, Srivastava received an opportunity to be a Tribe Reporter for a Day with the Cleveland Indians.
Srivastava cites “Gotta Keep Reading” as one of his favorite memories from the program. “I really enjoyed editing videos on Final Cut Pro. I remember editing ‘Gotta Keep Reading’ and it was amazing to watch how ordinary clips turned into an award winning video.”
Srivastava also helped implement a more technical side to the program. Throughout his years in the club, he filmed and taught other students to document the Brunswick Varsity Football games and other school events. In-studio, Srivastava helped put together a new studio video-switcher, opening up new and unique opportunities for every member of the club.
“My sixth-grader mind was excited to be on television, but over the years, I began to understand how valuable this program was for professional and leadership development,” Srivastava explains. “I guess I joined the video club not knowing what to expect, but I stayed in the program until senior year of high school because I appreciated the unique experience.”
Wasylko said that the program has also taught him teamwork skills and to not give up on your goals and dreams. “It’s good to dream big and try different things because, like I said, age shouldn’t define you. You should be able to do whatever you want if you put the hard work and dedication into it.”
Wasylko is now finishing his sophomore year at the College of Wooster for a double major in mathematics and political science. His love of coffee has also led him to start his own coffee blog on Instagram and Facebook called “Gabe’s Coffee Journey.” Srivastava is attending the University of Cincinnati to study medicine.
Allison Rhoades, a senior at Brunswick High School and Alexis Gemelas, a junior, are two of over forty student “backpack journalists” (grades 6-12) in the award-winning BEAT Video Program. The Program is sponsored by Scene75 (scene75.com), RPM, Plum Creek Assisted Living Community, Baskets Galore, Medina County Arts Council, Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund, Cleveland Clinic, Brunswick Eagles 3505 Brunswick Rotary Club and Lorain County Community College at Midpoint Campus Center. Go to TheBeat22.com to learn more about the Program, or visit thebeat.pegcentral.com to view videos produced by the students. You can follow Gabe Wasylko’s coffee blog @gabescoffeejourney on Instagram or Facebook.