Well I got a few responses from some board members. Superintendent sent a one sentence reply. Two others sent basic templates which I’m sure they came up with in response to all the emails. Typical.

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My letter to the Plum Borough School Board

I originally wasn’t going to send a letter, or speak at the meetings. That changed once I saw the stone walled faces, and bored looks from the board at tonight’s meeting. I had a million things running through my head while I drove home, but these were the ones that stood out the most. This may not do a single thing, but here’s my response to what the board calls “necessary cuts.”


My name is Steve Lintelman. I’m 27 and a proud Plum High School alumni. I’m not going to sit here and try to convince you to change your mind on the budget, because after the meeting tonight it’s clear to me that you’re already set on your ways. However, what I will do is detail a few experiences and lessons that I got from taking TV Productions. If you choose to read this, I appreciate it. That shows you actually DO care about the curriculum and the students who have yet to graduate.

While scheduling my junior year of high school I honestly had NO idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I really didn’t care much. I got good grades in all of my classes, I was a functioning part of the school, but I just wasn’t motivated to do anything after I graduated. I had heard TV Productions was a fun class to take, so I scheduled it. I figured it was going to be a blow off class and that I would just hang out with my friends and record a few things just to get some credits towards graduation. At first I did kind of blow off the class and didn’t really care much. However, during our big project for the year in which we created a video of still photos of our lives from birth up to that point, something changed. I was breezing through the project. You could see reflections of my hand in the pictures, shadows all over the place, and some pictures were not squared up. Mr. Berrott watched my video of what I had done so far while I was adding music and(not in these words), told me it was garbage, to start over and that I’d thank him later. Obviously I was frustrated because I had to completely start over. I went back and did the video the correct way this time, making sure it was perfect. I thought to myself, “this time it’s done right, I’m NOT doing this again.” Mr. Berrott watched my new video and said it was much better and that he was happy with it this time. I took the video home and gave it to my mother, since it was a video for her. As I sat and watched the video with my mom I finally saw what Mr. Berrott was talking about. It was a sense of pride in my work that I had never felt before. My mom was tearing up while watching, not because she was sad, but because I had done a great job and she now had a video of me “growing up.” This changed me forever. I now work as a member of the Steamfitters Local Union in Pittsburgh. You’re probably asking yourselves, “what does this have to do with a video class?” Without that project, and without Mr. Berrott steering my in the right direction I may not have the job I have today. I put my heart into my work every day because of that one video back when I was just a kid with no direction.

The next experience I had in TV Production had to deal with Make-A-Wish. My senior year of high school I had the opportunity to be a part of something extremely special. I was asked, along with a few classmates, to actually film a wish. We went to the zoo to film, as a part of the telethon, this child becoming spider-man for the day. At first I didn’t really think too much of it, we were just going to film another project. I thought that until I saw the little boy’s face light up while dressed in the costume. I thought that until I saw how happy his parents were that he was having his wish come true. I would have never had the opportunity to be a part of such a magical moment without the TV Productions program.

During my time in TV class we put together video packages and produced multiple shows for morning announcements. Those seemed like nothing once the time came to put together the telethon. I’m sure you’re all well aware of how much the telethon not only means to the school, but the entire community. It brings a sense of pride to Plum. It puts Plum on the map as a community that is always looking to help others. Anyway, leading up to the telethon we were all given jobs based on how well we performed at certain aspects of the class. I had done well enough that Mr. Berrott put me in charge of the control room. That meant I had to keep everyone on the same page as to what videos were played at what times, the levels of audio, which mics to turn on or off, which cameras we were going to be using and of course communicating with the crew in the studio. It was a stressful task but it put me in a great position that continues to help me to this day. In my current job I’ve done well enough that I will soon be actually running my first job. That includes ordering material, ordering tools, making sure we’re on track with our work, and once again communicating with the people on my team. I will again be put in a position where I need to step up and lead. I also work at Kennywood park and have since 2003. I’ve worked in the rides department, as a sound tech, and dressed up during fright nights to scare people. I was made manager of my ride crew in 2005, one year after graduating high school. I used what I learned during the telethon to make sure my crew reported to work, got there on time, and did the job they were supposed to do. I’ve also been a manager(1 of 3) of one of Kennywood’s haunted houses since 2006. Phantom Fright Nights will be entering it’s 12th season this coming fall. This coming year will also be my 11th season working Fright Nights. Each year there is a vote to see which haunted house is the best. Not only in terms of how scary they are but how they’re run behind the scenes. Since being promoted, with my skill set added to the others, we’ve only not won that award one time.

These are just three things that stand out from my two years of TV Production at Plum. Obviously I’m not in the field, but that doesn’t mean I don’t use the lessons, skills and experiences from class every day of my life. Without that class, and the rest of the programs you’re looking to cut from Plum, a kid like me might be in a dead end job working at Wal-Mart or taking orders at the McDonald’s drive-thru. I have always been proud of where I grew up and the education I received as a mustang. I’m currently at the point in my life where I’m looking to buy a house and plant my roots. I wouldn’t consider where I live right now because the school district is known for being bad. If you actually do go through with cutting these programs and turn my former high school into Core Class High School, there’s no way I would even consider a place like Plum to raise a family.

Thank you for your time.

-Steve Lintelman

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