Empowering student storytellers
In 2008, social media was still relatively young. In school districts? Very young. There weren’t too many schools using social media at all back in 2008. It was still an unknown, many administrators were scared of using it or thought it was a passing fad and there were concerns about privacy and legal issues involving students.
As a career-technical school district, recruiting high school students to the district was a key focus, but also communicating with current students (juniors and seniors) was necessary. The district was having success with Facebook and other social media platforms but wanted to develop a strategic campaign to provide measurable results to their efforts.
That’s when the idea for Hi-Point Journeys came to be. The idea was this: allow students to tell the district’s story and give them access to social media to do it. Today, that’s a given. Back then, the idea of allowing students to be the voice of a public school district was frightening for many. At its heart, Hi-Point Journeys was about empowering students and innovating along the way.
Students were given the tools (cameras), training (digital citizenship), and expectations (they signed a contract and had assignments). The result was a marketing campaign that won a 2010 International Webby Award and the OHSPRA Best of the Best PR Plan Award in 2009, along with being a Central Ohio PRSA PRism winner. More than that, the campaign resulted in an increase in applications and enrollment to the school and an increase in media impressions for the district building greater awareness of opportunities available through career-tech. The campaign was replicated at several other career centers in Ohio following its success.