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WJPN is on the air: John Paul The Great Catholic High School launches FM radio station

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John Paul The Great Catholic High School is on the air.

The school near Dumfries debuted a new low-power FM radio station 106.3 WJPN. The radio station will be used to broadcast classes, community information, and to simulcast the EWTN Catholic Radio Network.

“The sky is really the limit as to what we can with it,” said Jennifer Cole, director of enrollment and communications at the school.

A three-minute interview of the Principal Sister Mary Jordan Hoover recorded by two 11th grade students using an iPad was the first content to air on the station. Next year, the school will begin a communications course to teach 25 to 30 interested students about radio broadcasting, and to create more original content for the station that could include broadcasting sports games. The school still must build a radio studio for students to use.

Listeners in their cars can hear the low-power FM station within a 10 to 12-mile radius of the radio station tower affixed to new field lighting at the high school. “The signal is strong here locally, but as it travels farther out things like hills can kill the signal,” said Dave Morales, the school’s technology director.

The school spent four years and $250,000 developing the new radio station to cover permit costs, legal fees, to purchase equipment. The bulk of the expense came with the purchase of stadium lights for their football field, which ended up being the only feasible place to install the radio antenna. 

The seed money for the radio came from Tom Vetter of Montclair, and the donation for the stadium lights from Corrine and Mike Kosar of Woodbridge. Until now, the school regularly rented large lights for outdoor events before the installation of the new lights, said Cole.

The new lights meant the school did not have to build a radio tower. The FM transmitter is now placed on one of the light poles 102 feet above the football field, the highest spot on campus, said Morales.

 

The school held a ceremony Friday night to celebrate the new lights and the radio station’s inaugural broadcast.

The FCC will not allow the school to sell advertising the same way a commercial radio station does due to its low-power status. However, the school may thank contributing families and businesses on air similar to the way NPR announces its underwriting companies.

“It’s no longer just about what is happening within these four walls. Now we want to share our message with the community,” said Cole.

News
Anderson will push school funding grants

Millions of dollars of funds for Prince William County Public Schools remain up in the air.

The County’s Board of Supervisors passed its fiscal 2017 $1 billion budget — more than half of which goes to the county school division to provide majority funding for the education of 87,000 students in its 95 schools. The Board of Supervisors budget left the School Board about $7 million short of revenues it had anticipated getting if Supervisors had set and adopted a tax rate, which would have generated a higher average tax bill for county property owners.

Occoquan Supervisor Ruth Anderson pushed a plan to provide nearly $30 million in grant funding from the County to the School Board to make up for the lower tax rate, and funds lost after her proposal to reduce the automatic fund transfer from to the School Board from 57.23 percent of the entire county budget down to 54 percent. (more…)

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NOVA Woodbridge students organize nationwide inNOVAtion hackathon

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Students from various colleges and universities across the county gathered on the Woodbridge Campus of Northern Virginia Community College to participate in a hackathon event organized by five NOVA cybersecurity and information technology students. The event was held at the Regional Center for Workforce Education and Training (RCWET) on April 8-10. (more…)

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What’s in a name change? Officials react to Godwin decision

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Officials said the decision to rename Mills Godwin Middle School was the right compromise to make.

There were two failed tied votes during a March 2 Prince William County School Board meeting. The first to name new elementary school near the corner of Spriggs and Minnieville roads after fallen Prince William County firefighter Kyle Wilson, who died nine years ago at age 24. The second was to name the school after 87-year-old Army officer turned educator and community philanthropist, Dr. George Hampton. (more…)

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