Stefanie Frerotte has spent plenty of time at Richmond Hill High School covering athletic events as a sports reporter, but come August she’ll be at the school full time.
Frerotte, who has been with WJCL-TV in Savannah for five years as a sport reporter and weekend anchor, will join Richmond Hill to teach broadcast and video production.
“I’m really excited to get started,” she said. “I had thought about maybe one day teaching journalism in college, but I hadn’t considered high school until this came up.”
Frerotte grew up outside of Pittsburgh and said she attended a high school similar to Richmond Hill. That’s where she got her first taste of television news and now looks forward to sharing her knowledge with students.
“It was a big school like Richmond Hill with a lot of great offerings,” she said. “I took a television class as a junior and I was hooked.”
She said the class she was in produced daily updates as well as an actual news program that aired on the school district’s cable access channel.
“When I got to college, I already knew so much about how things were done,” the Kent State alum said. “We had 35 students in the class on the first day and after a week there were 12 of us left. Having that experience from high school really gave me a leg up.”
Frerotte will join Patrick Means in teaching the AVTF (audio/visual/television/film) career pathway. Means was a producer at WTOC-TV in Savannah before starting the program at Richmond Hill five years ago.
“I’m really excited to have Stefanie join us because now we’ve got all the bases covered,” he said. “My experience was behind the camera from a production standpoint, and she has the on-air experience.”
Means said his first class had 15 students, but the program has expanded to the point where it justified adding a second teacher. He credits Principal Debi McNeal for the popularity of the school’s CTAE (Career, Technical and Agricultural Education) classes.
“She really supports what we’re doing and tries to get people for our CTAE classes who have industry experience in those fields,” Means said. “It’s a huge benefit for the kids because it’s not just a guest speaker, it’s someone teaching them every day who knows everything about the subject.”
McNeal said she’s excited to add Frerotte to the staff.
“We have some very talented students and a long waiting list for those classes,” she said. “Stefanie will be a nice complement to what Patrick is doing as far as what we can offer.”
Means said the three classes that make up the career pathway cover everything from video production to making documentaries and commercials to news reporting. Students in the advanced class this year will be putting together a 15-minute show each afternoon that will be viewed by students the following morning.
“Sports reporters like Stefanie were really among the first to get on board with multi-media journalism,” Means added. “They do everything from shooting their own film to putting together stories to social media. She’s very good at all of those.”
Frerotte actually made her announcement of the switch via Facebook and Twitter on Sunday, playing off of LeBron James’s words from 2010 when he said he was “taking my talents to South Beach” after joining the Miami Heat when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers. Frerotte said she had “decided to take my talents to @RH_WildCatNews.”
Frerotte said that while she has enjoyed her time on television — including a stint at a station in West Virginia before joining WJCL — she’s looking forward to the change.
“I love what I do but eventually I’d like to start a family,” the newlywed said. “Working nights and weekends long-term doesn’t really fit in with that. This was just too good of an opportunity to pass up.”