News Releases

High School Media Mentors Honored for Sparking Passion in Students

ITHACA, NY — The Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College has recognized four inaugural recipients of the S’Park Media Mentor Award. The Park School established the award to recognize high school teachers and advisors who are committed to igniting a passion for media in their students.

“These are teachers and advisors who have not only served as tremendous mentors to their students, they have also made phenomenal contributions in their personal careers to the field of media,” said Diane Gayeski, dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications. “We are honored to celebrate their accomplishments and dedication to instilling in their students a love of media and communications.”

This year’s recipients are

  • Lori Oglesbee, yearbook advisor at McKinney (Texas) High School. In 2009 she was named by the Journalism Education Association as National Yearbook Advisor of the Year and in 2005 she was named Texas Journalism Teacher of the Year. Her yearbook and newspaper staffs have won Gold Crowns, Pacemakers, Best of Show and numerous other state, regional and national awards.
  • Clifton Raphael, head of the film and television program at Jenks (Oklahoma) High School. His emphasis on storytelling and solid production values has helped his students achieve state and national success in documentary film work, including the first and only entirely high school–produced program on Oklahoma statewide television.
  • Mike Zito, advisor for the radio station, WWPT, and coadvisor for the TV station at Staples (Westport, Connecticut) High School. He was named best advisor and WWPT took second place for best radio station in the country at the 2009 John Drury High School Radio Awards. He teaches radio production, television production and narrative film in the school’s media department.
  • Dharini Rasiah, media coordinator and student newspaper advisor at Berkeley (California) High School. She developed the school’s media program and founded its sound recording studio. The BHS Jacket newspaper received the 2010 Gold Crown Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association for its online edition. In 2008 she was honored as best high school teacher in the Bay Area.

The four winners were invited to an all-expenses-paid award dinner and reception at the college. While on campus, they met the advisors and managers of the Park School’s own nationally acclaimed student media outlets and learned about the Park Scholar Program, which provides full-cost-of-attendance scholarships for communications students.

For more information on the S’Park Media Mentor Award and the inaugural award winners, visit: /rhp/community/sparkaward/.

Student-operated media programs in the Roy H. Park School of Communications include a weekly newspaper, “The Ithacan”; radio stations WICB-FM and 106 VIC; television station ICTV; Park Productions, a media production unit; and Park Design House, a graphic design unit.

For more information contact Melissa Gattine in the Park School at (607) 274-1023 or