S’Park Awards Celebrate Media Mentors

By Dan Verderosa, October 24, 2019
Roy H. Park School of Communications recognizes high school teachers for igniting students’ passion for media.

The  Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College recognized four outstanding media mentors with S’Park Media Mentor Awards. The awards honor high school teachers and advisers who are committed to igniting a passion for media in their students.

“High school teachers and youth mentors are as influential as they are under-appreciated,” said Diane Gayeski, dean of the Park School. “That’s why my favorite Park School event each year is the S’Park Media Mentor Awards, when we can show our appreciation to those who ignite the passion of the next generation of young media scholars and practitioners. The connections made among the awardees and with our faculty and staff pave the path for promising students to pursue their college education here.”

The award recipients were invited to a dinner and reception at the college. While on campus, they met the advisers 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.

This year’s recipients are:

Richard Curtis

A teacher at Souderton Area High School in Souderton, Pennsylvania, Richard Curtis is in his ninth year of teaching broadcast journalism. In 2016 Curtis won the “LIVE! With Kelly” Co-Host Contest and went on to co-host multiple episodes of the nationally syndicated morning talk show. He now hosts his own show, “The ClassH-Room,” a half-hour game show that airs weekdays at 6:30 p.m. on Fox in Philadelphia. He also hosts the largest dance and cheer competitions for Varsity Brands, which air on ESPN and ESPN2.

Ryan Gillentine

Ryan Gillentine is a filmmaking teacher at The Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas, where his students have garnered national recognition for their work. Gillentine is an award-winning filmmaker, whose films have played around the country. He founded the film program at his high school alma mater, St. Mark’s School of Texas. Subsequently, he spent eight years in and around Jackson Hole, Wyoming, teaching and working on documentary, promotional and narrative films.

Karla Sprague

Karla Sprague is an educator at Har-Ber High School in Springdale, Arkansas, where she advises The Herald and The Wildcat. Both student publications have won numerous awards at the state and national levels. Sprague has 22 years of experience advising publications, and serves as the president of the Arkansas Scholastic Press Association. In 2019, the organization named Sprague the ASPA Adviser of the Year and Arkansas Educator of the Year.

Eric VanHoose

Eric VanHoose is the educator for the Appalachian Media Institute (AMI). After successfully creating the second collegiate esports program in the nation, VanHoose went on to become the founding chairman of the National Association of Collegiate Esports.  As part of his work at AMI, VanHoose created and led a 3D-printing pilot, teaching six apprentices how to design and 3D print during a seven-week program.