(Chicago) – A TV show made exclusively by Chicago youth is reaching an impressive milestone this weekend: 500 episodes.
HoopsHIGH covers high school and park district sporting events on the West and South Sides of Chicago, produced entirely by youth from those areas.
“I got the chance to produce, direct, edit, and announce games,” said James Fields, a North Lawndale College Prep graduate and HoopsHIGH alum. “Because of those experiences, I learned to be a leader.”
Fields now works in the media industry and is producing a documentary about his older brother, legendary Farragut Academy basketball player Ronnie Fields.
Since the show began in 2001, over 250 students have taken part in producing HoopsHIGH, including running the cameras, describing the play-by-play action, and interviewing athletes on the sidelines.
Free Spirit Media’s Executive Director Jeff McCarter is the creative force behind HoopsHIGH. His organization helps provide education, access and opportunity in media production to Chicago youth.
Twelve years ago, McCarter worked with CAN TV to get the tools he needed to put media in the hands of students. Today, these students and the community are continuing to see the benefits, as HoopsHIGH weekly episodes reach a potential one million cable viewers through CAN TV.
“Almost every day people out in the community tell our students that they saw them on CAN TV,” said McCarter.
“This engagement is one of our greatest teaching tools because it demonstrates to them that their work is being seen and has the power to impact their world.”
Catch HoopsHIGH’s 500th episode this Saturday, October 19, at 8 p.m. on CAN TV19. It features a football game between Morgan Park and Orr high schools.