Dedication is a trademark of the Friends of WAVM, and since 1984 (officially) this group has always been there for the station. Initially called the WAVM Parents Group, the name was changed because, says Friend Sharon Johnson, many members’ “kids had graduated and they were still helping us.” These parents recognized the value of the organization and have continued to dedicate many hours.
According to Johnson, the Friends of WAVM are there “to help WAVM, both radio and TV station, in anyway possible whether by parental support or trying to raise money.” They assist the station from chaperoning or catering station events, to helping with transportation, or even teaching WAVM students new skills. Their role isn’t strictly defined to these areas, but rather, they are there to help WAVM when its needs can’t be fulfilled by the students or the station’s Director. The Friends fill-in the gaps, and, even more importantly, they augment the students experience by opening avenues previously closed and becoming educators themselves.
To raise money for the scholarship, the Friends hold several fundraisers throughout the year, including spaghetti dinners and ice cream socials. One of the first fundraisers, according to Florence Tomyl, was a cookbook made by hand. Typed by mothers, and collated by students, who assembled the books one day in a cold gym.
Longtime friend Sharon Johnson & former-student Pamela Boothroyd
One of the most significant contributions made by the Friends actually came about due to a tragic event. In the early 80’s, there was a WAVM student who absolutely loved the high school radio station. Her name was Karen Lee MacGillivary, and she died from a terrible disease in her sophomore year. From this, the Friends established the Karen Lee MacGillivary Award in her name. The award is actually two scholarships of $500 given to WAVM students who will be studying communications in college. Since Karen Lee never got the chance to pursue one of her loves, the Friends hope that another WAVM member can.
THE PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS
WAVM has been blessed by having several professional engineers donate their time and skills to the radio station. For that WAVM is very thankful to David Knight, Jay Ayer, Blair Hardin, Ned Roos, Matt Bourgault and most recently Nick Huston.
Mike Gianotis lends his expertise on pricing telethon items.
Two friends keep everyone well fed during a telethon.
Speaking more generally, The Friends of WAVM also include a great number of people. For example, there are the many parents who went out of their way week after week to let their kids take part in station activities. Countless times, parents had to drive students to and from the station at unwelcoming hours; many dinners were delayed or boxed up and brought to the high school, and some students even passed up on holidays and family functions to cover an event at the station. However, the parents have been very understanding and true friends.
Since 1983, Mark Minasian has been the Cablevision (previously Adams-Russell) Production Tech assisting TV 8/28 with all of its operating needs. Since 2000, Mark Minasian has been the full time WAVM student advisor (in place of Joe Magno).
Former Cablevision Program Manager and current WAVM Student Advisor, Mark Minasian
One of WAVM’s staunchest supporters and benefactors has been Anne Duclos, a Maynard resident whose charity has been boundless. Anne has made it a point to take as active a part as she can in the station, and she’s frequently visited the station to work the Beacon Santa Telethon or the Ice Cream Social, a fundraising event for the Karen Lee MacGillivary Award. In her name, the Anne Duclos Citizenship Award was created. This award is an encouragement to students who are active both in WAVM and in the community in such ways as the Girl Scouts, etc.
WAVM has greatly benefited over the years from the support of this group. As Sharon Johnson has said, “If you have a strong parent’s group, you have a much stronger organization.” The station may have continued without the Friends, but the accomplishments would have been fewer–not to mention, the journey would have been far, far less enjoyable.
The Story of WAVM continues with Generations