Unsung Heroes of Light & Sound

27 Aug Unsung Heroes of Light & Sound

Anyone who has been part of a stage show will know that it’s not just the talent of the performers that is make or break. Costumes, scenery, light & sound are also vital parts of the success of any production.

That’s why we’re so grateful to have such an amazingly hardworking and competent Sound & Lighting Crew at Pakuranga College. Not only do these students spend their lunch breaks and free time after school setting up the sound and lighting for everything from assemblies to the annual school production, they have taken this service to the next level.

Joshua Morley (Year 12), Jaap Skinner (Year 12) and Ethan Ruppersberg (Year 13), have been part of the team since they were in Year 9. Luckily, they all study Robotics, which they say helps them to understand the systems used to control the sound system and lighting rigs at the College.

They are all self-taught, relying on YouTube videos and online tutorials to master the complex equipment, as well as “quite a lot of trial and error,” says Jaap. As head of the team, Ethan volunteered to go on a training course in the school holidays to gain his licence to operate the College’s scissor lift. He deftly manoeuvres this around a variety of venues on campus, so that the rest of the team can access the lighting rigs.

According to the boys, their biggest challenge is the need to improvise when things don’t go as planned. “We don’t always get a run sheet,” says Jaap, “and even when we do, there are often things missing, so we have to think on our feet.”

A request from the Technology department last year to live stream the annual fashion show set the team yet another challenge. They tackled this with their usual determination, creating a web platform and researching how to stream live video content. As a result of their work, we have been able to live stream both the school production and Cultural Night this year. Pakuranga College is likely the only school in Auckland to have this facility.

“Once we had the website up and running”, says Jaap, “it seemed logical to add more functionality to it.” Up to this point the crew had been relying on Microsoft Yammer to organise incoming projects. “It was really difficult to put together an accurate plan,” points out Joshua. So, he and Jaap decided to add a booking function to the new website. This was no small task, and the pair spent up to six hours a day after school for several weeks, working to launch the new facility.

College staff can now log in and book events online, listing their sound and lighting requirements. Teacher, Joe Dunleavy, who supervises the team points out: “This is such a great example of 21st century learning! The students have identified a real world problem themselves and through problem-solving, feedback, trialling and testing they’ve created a fantastic solution that will go onto benefit both students and teachers for years to come.”


by Roisin Lamb, Head of Marketing & Communications






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