If ‘x’ = ‘Play by Play’

Featuring Crete High School Math Teacher, Jeremy Fries

This piece was started to acknowledge a teacher…a math teacher, in fact, that has paved a new way for himself and students around him to the complexity of his teaching. It’s easy to fall into a plethora of math pun ideas when a math teacher becomes the sponsor of Striv. Bringing up things such as: ‘taking a piece of the ‘pi’ or how Crete high school goes beyond just being ‘acute’. It would be embarrassing to mention all the x=’s that were thought of, but the bottom line is Crete High School Math Department’s, Jeremy Fries is a dedicated person and truly does have a solution before the problem. For this week’s Striv feature, we went to Crete and spoke with the Cardinal’s Algebra 2, AP Stats, Business Math Traits, Baseball coach and also Striv sponsor, Jeremy Fries.

When Striv is implemented into a school system, the math teachers are not usually your typical responders to sponsor or teach the class. Well, I guess Fries isn’t your typical math teacher then. He’s not just the AP Stats teacher that gives brain busting problems to solve in first period that students ponder until fifth period and finally almost say out loud, ‘OOOOHHH, I GET IT NOW!’ because they just ‘got it’. Fries actually was proactive on his involvement in Striv before Crete even adopted the program. He approached Jim Moore, Crete’s AD who told him that Striv’s, Taylor Siebert was just in talking with Kyle McGowan, Crete’s Superintendent. Interesting how the Math teacher found ‘x’ before ‘y’ did.

Fries’ roots in sports and play by play run deep. A former Doane College baseball player whose uncle worked for the Royals, took note when he saw an opposing team doing audio play by play for a game against Crete. He wanted to answer the problem before the problem even existed. Like all methodical math teachers, he said, “if you’re going to do it right, it’s going to take a little bit of time.” From there, he decided to forgo coaching junior high sports and focus on sponsoring Striv. It seemed to fit really well as he coaches baseball in the spring, but could still help share in creating Crete’s online story presents in the fall and winter. Fries also possessed a ‘hidden talent’ as he was the Video Coordinator at the Doane football field and that has aided in this process as well.

This is Crete’s 2nd year with Striv and Fries has seven or eight students involved by just gathering interest from morning announcements at the beginning of the year. Striv is a club at Crete and that club consists of every student understanding and knowing how to run the computer and cameras. Fries saw that the students could take it over and he gave them that freedom and just ‘let them go’. They keep learning and growing, even started to conduct some floor interviews before and after games.

Time is sometimes an issue they face as everything is done outside of school hours. The students, along with Fries’ guidance, figure it out. It is very difficult as he teaches numerous math classes and can not intertwine that field of study with Striv like a lot of journalism/media/communication teachers can so easily. He continues to search, though. He says a designated class would be helpful or maybe a computer class could pitch in with commercials sometime in the future. For now, they handle it and do a great job. A student helped create a lot of graphics for Striv, the kids are all back from the club last year and they are all tech savvy students. As the Crete Cardinals moved into their brand new school this year, the Striv club was ready to bring in what they have created with the “Crete Striv Network” — a title they branded and stuck with. Fries said, “you show them one thing and these kids have the ability to take it to the next level.”

With Crete’s new school, Fries was able to do things that other schools maybe don’t have as a luxury. He had foresight in the electrical, hookups and media set up as the school was being built. Fries, along with the administration’s support and ideas, thought of Striv in the building process. They built a media platform on both sides of the gym, had hookups placed into the commons with the capability to plug in and have a straight shot from the gym. All in all, Crete’s new school is a premier Nebraska high school and they have created a premier Striv setup for the students to learn, grow and for their viewers. It can be not only for viewers unable to attend the game due to distance or capability, but even viewers already at the game; the mom with the running toddler can hang out in the commons and still watch the game with ease.

“It’s like the Doane football video board on steroids because now everybody gets to watch!”

Fries seems to be putting the pieces into place to create a cutting-edge, exciting atmosphere for Crete high school to share their story. He still gets lots of questions from students. Not only math questions like, ‘what does x equal or what is the standard deviation’; he answers questions like, ‘how do I export this video?’, ‘how does this scoreboard function on the stream?’ and teaches the Wirecast software that Striv runs on.

Jeremy Fries is not a Journalism teacher. He does not have a Communications degree. He also does not have a lot of free time, nor does he have class periods that assist in Striv production or a class period for Striv at all. What he does have is drive, knowledge, know-how and a passion for sharing Crete high school’s story. He chooses to give up his time to let students grow, to enhance the student experience and to bring Crete high school’s story online. All added together, this sounds like a pretty positive outcome!

Interested in learning more about how your school can share their story with Striv? Go here.

Written by Jessica Siebert (StrivU Director)

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