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The stories of McKeesport Area High School’s people will soon appear on TV screens.
At last week’s meeting, the school board voted to approve two projects that will showcase local students, staff and families.
The first, a docuseries titled “The Road to the Ring,” will follow the McKeesport Tigers Varsity Football team and its quest to win a state championship. Produced by Teall Properties Group, LLC, the 10-part series, will chart the end of the Tigers’ season — the team is currently 9-1 — and begin streaming in January on Teall’s YouTube channel.
James Companion, Teall’s EVP, National Sales, told the board the docuseries will provide viewers a perspective from “behind the curtain.”
By focusing on athletes and coaches, “this is a chance to show the country one of the top programs,” Companion said.
Based in Winston-Salem, N.C., Teall is a sponsorship sales company committed to generating new revenue for its high school partners while also creating “tangible results” for its marketing partners.
Teall’s partnerships stretch nationwide. Its local connection includes a partnership with WPIAL as well as previous support of MASD.
During the April 2022 meeting, MASD board members approved a $5,000 sponsorship agreement with Teall.
While speaking with Companion during Wednesday’s session, athletic director Charles Kiss asked about the school board’s ability to review footage prior to wider dissemination.
“Charley, you and your team will have the opportunity to review everything before it ever goes public,” Companion said. “We are only going to showcase the positives here. There will be no curse words, there will be no negatives,” Companion continued. “This is about positives.”
Later during Wednesday’s meeting, board members approved the filming of a documentary at UNITED at Twin Rivers.
Aimee Watters, executive director of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation, told the board the documentary is intended to highlight the “wonderful things” happening at UNITED while also promoting the benefits of the public/private partnership between Dick’s and the district.
“We want other people to be inspired by this work and to go and do that in their own community,” she said.
The relationship between MASD and Dick’s reached new heights last May when representatives from both groups announced the renaming of Twin Rivers Elementary School to “United at Twin Rivers.”
Sarah Cassella, of Dick’s Sporting Goods, said at the time the goal of UNITED was to help students and families build healthy minds, bodies and relationships. Cassella also noted that funding from Dick’s would increase staffing, improve facilities at the school and enable greater individual student success.
Watters praised the “amazing community that is McKeesport” and told board members that the foundation, which is covering the costs of the documentary, would like to begin filming as soon as possible.
“We think there's a lot of great things that are happening today that we don't want to miss,” she said.
Watters then told the board that the crew — which plans on filming through the end of the summer — will be small, nimble and discreet.
“That's the point, they don't want people to know they're there because they're trying to film people,” she said.
School Board President Mindy Lundberg asked Watters about the process of letting the larger community know about the documentary.
Watters replied that her presentation to the board was “step one.”
Moving forward, it’s important to ensure that the union is “aware and supportive, and then obviously the staff at UNITED,” she continued. From there, students, families and the “broader community of McKeesport” will be informed through various communicative means.
The goal, Watters noted, is to make sure “everybody’s aware and aligned.”
Superintendent Tia Wanzo vouched for Watters and told the board that the time she’s spent with the Foundation staffer and her colleagues was instructive.
“For someone who is with Aimee and the rest of her team regularly every other week — we are meeting together — I feel very comfortable with them telling our story because they are a true partner,” Wanzo said. “Thank you for even choosing us and being a part of this, really, it's an awesome opportunity for our students, our families and our community.”
In approving the docuseries and documentary, the board noted that both projects are pending final review of Solicitor Gary Matta.
Adam Reinherz is a Pittsburgh-based journalist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published October 31, 2022.