When Ramona Garcia sang the National Anthem at the first of San Antonio Independent School District's high school graduation ceremonies Saturday morning, her grandfather was watching and listening on his computer 250 miles away.
"Thanks for webcasting the Graduation of Highlands High School this morning," wrote Ramona's grandfather, Otto Perryman, in an email. "I am disabled and was unable to travel to San Antonio to see the graduation, and appreciate you allowing me to watch it from my home in Fort Worth."
Three days later, after the webcast of the eighth SAISD high school graduation, nearly 3,000 visitors had come to watch the events online at NOWCastSA from 252 cities and 12 countries including Germany, Italy and Mexico. More than 2,000 of the vists came from San Antonio and almost 100 visits came from 22 different cities in Mexico.
The first-ever webcasts of all eight SAISD high school graduations were produced by Brackenridge High School media magnet teacher Robert Blackard and his Brack TV students on four cameras.
The NOWCastSA team provided training and technical assistance to Blackard and the students, who had never before used the school's TriCaster Studio for livestreaming. For three days, from June 11 to June 13, NOWCastSA donated its live webcasting hosting channel on Kit Digital to stream each event and we published the video of the Class of 2011 graduations of Highlands, Lanier, Jefferson, Edison, Sam Houston, Fox Tech, Burbank and Brackenridge high schools on NOWCastSA.com.
We archived the video and will keep it on our channel and available at the same place for future viewing here.
By noon Thursday June 16, the graduation videos collectively had been viewed almost 9,000 times.
Friends and family members from across the globe sent good luck wishes and congratulations to graduates via live chat and in comments on the SAISD graduation page.
One of them was Veornica Fuentes of Baytown, Texas, who wrote this in the comments area: "Thank you SAISD for allowing me the apportunity to be a part of my nephew, Orlando Fuentes', (Lanier H.S.) graduation ceremony. It means so much to me, to be able to watch it live while i'm at work. What a blessing!"
Arthur Medina sent an email from Heidelberg, Germany, asking NOWCastSA to post this comment:
"Congrats Nicolas Ryan Luna and the Class of 2011. It gives me great pleasure in viewing the Live broadcast of Luther Burbank HS. 'Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.' ~Mark Twain See you on Wed. Nicolas as we celebrate your day in Europe!"
David Udovich, Executive Director of Secondary Initiatives for SAISD, who came up with the idea of webcasting the high school graduations, said the district hopes to make DVD versions of the video available by July 1. Check www.SAISD.net for updates and purchasing information.
The NOWCastSA staff also is working with SAISD to make short clips of the graduation video available for download to cell phones.
The NOWCastSA thanks everyone at SAISD for helping us be a part of the Class of 2011 graduation ceremonies.
Congratulations to all of this year's graduates, especially Melanie Gomez, Carlos Jimenez, Sergio Ramos and Antonio Herrera, (pictured in the photo to the right) who mastered live webcasting just in time to walk across the stage with their fellow Brackenriidge High School seniors and graduate Monday evening!