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Sand Lake Historical Society

Averill Park Schools
Video Discovery Program 1985-91

With the advent of portable VHS video recording equipment in the early 1980s, many schools started student centered video productions. In Algonquin Middle School, social studies teacher Bob Moore started a video club that grew into a district-wide video production program. Mr. Moore incorporated video projects into his curriculum but also convinced the administration to provide time to develop district programs that highlighted students, staff and programs. Using the available public access channel these programs could be broadcast throughout Rensselaer County to cable TV subscribers in order to build a better relationship between the community and its schools.

Mr. Moore was then able to get out into the district to develop and record programing. Two other teachers became an important part of this student named “Discovery” program. Dick Abbatiello, Phys. Ed. teacher and coach, worked as the AV Specialist in Averill Park High School and was responsible for wiring the school and starting WAPH morning announcements on closed-circuit video.  The students left Algonquin with skills needed for video production assignments at WAPH. Mr. Abbatiello was able to supervise and direct students who also worked on Discovery assignments.

Mary Hall was the District Coordinator of Gifted and Talented Programs. Mary became an integral part of the programming aspect of Discovery. Mrs. Hall visited all district schools, where she saw outstanding teaching and came back with ideas for programs to be taped. She also had many community connections, and so came collaborations between the Sand Lake Historical Society, Business Association and the Arts Council.

Over the six-year period, nine hour-long programs were produced, highlighting Local History, Business in Our Community, Averill Park District Arts Programs, Historic House Tours, Miller Hill School Reopening, and Crooked Lake Hotel Tour with Al Coons. These programs also include numerous interviews with teachers, principals, superintendents and people from the Sand Lake community.

Starting in September 2015, Sand Lake Town Historian Bob Moore has scheduled these programs to be broadcast before the Sand Lake Town Board Meetings each month on Time Warner Cable Channel 17 or 116.1. DVD copies of the programs will be available for loan at the Sand Lake Library as well as the High School and Algonquin Middle School libraries. We hope you enjoy this look back to our community in the 1980s.
The official logo of the Sand Lake Historical SocietyAugust 15, 2015; revised September 13, 2019 -- asm © 2002-2023 Sand Lake Historical Society; all rights reserved.