When Pete Grigsby arrived at Blue Springs South High School nine years ago, he was a dreamer.
Today, his dreams have become reality.
“I wanted to get enough sponsors so that we could build a studio for our students at South,” said Grigsby, the director of radio and television broadcasting in the Blue Springs School district, who also teaches meteorology at South, “and I wanted South to have one of the best, if not the best, broadcasting team in the state.”
One look at the broadcasting facility at South shows what type of equipment he has provided for his Jaguars broadcasting team. The state-of-the-art classroom features a radio and television broadcasting studio, editing gear and enough computers to allow every student the opportunity for a hand’s on experience.
Last year, he entered a South broadcast into the prestigious University of Missouri All Missourian Best in State Awards, and received a ranking of superior.
“I saw superior, and that we had 499 points, so I asked the judges what that meant,” the personable Grigsby said, as he pointed out a new backdrop for the television set at South. “I found out that superior was one of the top honors, but that the All-Missouri Best in State Award was the top award.
“So, that’s what we went after this year.”
The newest plaque on the award-filled walls of this unique classroom is the latest University of Missouri All Missouri All-Missouri Best in State Award – which South and Washington High School in St. Louis received.
“They don’t say how many points the broadcast received,” he explained, “or where Washington and South ranked – it’s such a special honor that we were the only two schools to receive the Best in State Award.
“Gosh, nine years ago seems like such a long time ago. I had a lot of hopes and dreams, and now, they’re all coming true. I am so proud of what our students have accomplished.”
To see what the judges determined was the best in state, go to www.JagTVnews.com.
The Jaguars were also recently honored for a one-minute video that features the unique aspect of Blue Springs South.
“We were honored by the Missouri School Boards Association and our video features Casey Main, who wrote and stars in the video, and it was edited by Derek Mammen,” Grigsby said. “I watch it, much like I watch our broadcasts, and think, ‘High school students did that!’ Amazing.”
Grigsby, who still does some weekend weather anchoring on KMBC-TV 9 has created a network that allows his students to associate with the best and the brightest among academia and broadcast professionals.
Dr. Ronald Kelly, an associate professor of journalism from the University of Missouri, is visiting Grigsby’s class today.
“We hope to begin a pipeline for our students to the University of Missouri,” Grigsby said, “because the university has the best broadcasting department in the country.”
KCWJ 1030 AM’s Tony Wrisinger, who has worked with Grigsby the past seven years in a variety of radio and television broadcasts, sings the praises of the man who is making South the standard for high school broadcasting.
“Pete is to broadcasting, and to teaching, what (Blue Springs High School coach) Kelly Donohoe and (former Blue Springs South football coach) Greg Oder are to football – the best, just the best,” said Wrisinger, who works with Grigsby and his students on Friday night broadcast of Blue Springs and Blue Springs South football.
“He is consummate pro who connects with students in a special way. He makes them feel special and gets the best from them. He and his student broadcasts have that wow factor, and we really enjoy working with him and hope to for years to come.”
As the school day winds down, Grigsby takes a quick glance at the new-look studio, the awards on the walls and videos of student-produced newscasts.
He flicks off the light and walks out the door, knowing that dreams do come true – for both him, and his students.