Niles High School receives funding from McDonald’s MAC Grant Program

Published 8:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2022

NILES — Niles High School students will soon have new video equipment and software to produce their daily announcements, thanks to a local grant.

McDonald’s Make Activities Count Grant Program presented Niles High School business and marketing teacher Matt Herm with a $500 check Tuesday morning at the Niles New Tech Commons at Niles High School,1441 Eagle St.

The funds will go toward the purchase of new video equipment and software for his classroom video program to produce their daily announcements.

“We feel really honored,” Herm said. “The kids have been working really hard and they’re really creating something from scratch. What’s beautiful is that with students, digital media is the future for them. When you think about what they’re spending their time on, they’re watching videos. We know if we are preparing them for a future in this field, we need to give them get their hands on creating video content. This club gives them a chance to actually create video and things that they’re excited about and give them a platform to have an audience. So the more that we can get their hands on actually creating video content, that’s what we’re all about.”

According to Herm, the idea for the project was suggested by English teacher Dustin Cornelius, who started a similar project in Dowagiac. Sophomore Kyler Skopec, Senior Isiah Wilds and junior Ryan Atkins were also on hand meeting with the media as the three leaders of the project.

“They said ‘we have an idea for this, is there any way you’re able to do this?’ And I’m like, sure I’ll jump in,” Skopec said. “I thought it would be a little club and it turned into something like this where it’s what I’m doing every day and doing every weekend. I just think that’s really inspiring.”

Herm submitted his class for the $500 grant so that his students would have more professional equipment to use while capturing stories. Daily announcements are an integral part of the students’ days at Niles, keeping them informed of essential school-related activities and community events. Additionally, access to this equipment will help prepare students interested in a career in marketing and advertising.

“This is really just stage one,” Herm said. “We want to build a platform where kids can be informed about the things that are going on, in not only the school, but around the community. Once we go to a platform, then we can actually start marketing different things that are going out. Different fundraising opportunities, different events and social events so this will make way for a lot of new things to happen at the school and we’re in the community to get the kids’ attention.”

“I think it’ll be great to use this towards getting better quality equipment,” Atkins said. “That’s the next step for us.  I’m just excited to bring the quality of our videos to the next level.”

McDonald’s MAC Grants are designed to help teachers enhance opportunities to engage students with personal, career or business skills. This year McDonald’s owners and operators have awarded 41 MAC Grants to schools across Indiana and Southwest Michigan for programs ranging from agriculture and culinary to computer software and entrepreneurship.

Wilds encouraged students from other schools to get involved in similar projects.

“This is possible at any school,” Wilds said. “Every day, our teachers will get an email sent to everybody in the school saying these are the announcements and sometimes the school or the students don’t read it as much as they should. We thought students need to know these kinds of things, so we did the videos. This just started with two teachers and  three students and we just went with it. It’s possible in any school.”