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  • Erin Madigan White

Students Cover MHS Sports With MFEE Assist

Updated: May 7




When a group of students approached Montclair High School science teacher Anthony Dalbo during the pandemic about starting a sports journalism club, he made it happen. Then he turned to the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence for an assist. 

 

MFEE awarded Dalbo an Educational Excellence grant to fund programs and broadcast equipment to help students learn how to be sports journalists through the Montclair Sports Network (MSN).

 

MSN aspires to be the high school’s very own version of ESPN. They cover boys and girls varsity sports, such as soccer, swimming, fencing, and volleyball, as well as club sports, including ultimate frisbee and flag football. The students provide live coverage, game recaps, athlete spotlights, and more. Approximately 30 - 40 students participate in the extracurricular club, which meets Thursdays after school in Dalbo’s classroom. Student coordinators assign club members to take photos, shoot video, interview coaches, write stories, create graphics and post on social media. You can check out their robust coverage of spring sports at mhsmounties.com or on Instagram (where they boast nearly 1,800 followers).


 “All the graphics, all the articles, all the photos, that’s all done on their own time,” Dalbo said, noting students can earn community service hours.  

 

The club’s work promotes student athletes through its content and allows parents or friends who can’t attend games to follow the action from work and support teams from afar.

 

“Our goal is to provide Montclair students unique, hands-on learning experiences they might not otherwise have,” said Masiel Rodriquez-Vars, executive director of MFEE. “Funding innovative projects like the Montclair Sports Network is a win for Montclair students, and a win for our entire community.”

 

What do the student athletes think about these efforts? “Students love it,” Dalbo said, adding they often ask the club to cover games or make a case for who should be highlighted as a player of the game. Dalbo doesn’t have a journalism background, but he coached baseball for 15 years and has been immersed in different levels of high school sports. He advises the club along with MHS volleyball coach Pam Reilly. Dalbo said the club aspires to someday have a dedicated studio space and to broadcast on video monitors throughout the high school building.

 

The club also welcomes community members with news production or sports journalism experience to collaborate or come speak to students. In the meantime, the student journalists will be broadcasting the best in Montclair sports from their classroom and from the sidelines. 

 

MFEE raises funds for Excellence in Education grants like this through events such as our Amazing FundRacer, a mini-version of the competition show Amazing Race, and our Toast to the Teachers, a Montclair tradition of family-hosted parties honoring educators. Learn more at MFEE.org.

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