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Photo credit Ruth Zemedhun
WCAT taping the Westminster vs. Holy Innocents football game.

They’re at every game, every pep rally, every assembly. Name any event on campus, and they’ll be there. WCAT members range from editors to reporters to camera operators, but, regardless of position, all of them are dedicated to covering everything that happens at Westminster, big or small. Although historically known for its Emmy-winning sports broadcasts, WCAT is now expanding into new areas, looking to bring in more students and shed light on more stories. 

Last year, WCAT covered and streamed around 450 events, racking up 64,000 views across multiple platforms. This year, the club is hoping to surpass those numbers, not in the pursuit of money or popularity, but instead to give students more opportunities to shine. 

“WCAT, at its heart, is a student-led club that produces whatever content the students like,” said Program Director Fifo Chlopek 

Chlopek, who joined the group in sixth grade, has watched WCAT lean into more student-geared content in recent years, particularly through mediums such as TikTok. In fact, the WCAT TikTok account, created in early 2021 but dormant until last year, now boasts over 500 followers and 8,000 likes.  The page includes videos of all types, ranging from “hype” videos to behind-the-scenes montages to trending dances. TikTok has allowed WCAT to attract new club members who are interested in creating shorter content. Some of the most viewed clips from the page come from WCAT Chats, WCAT’s revamped podcast hosted by juniors Alex Carr, Palmer Routh, and Nitin Raju.  Every week, the trio welcomes a new guest to discuss athletics within and beyond Westminster’s gates, and they have even hosted notable guests such as Braves General Manager Alex Anthopoulos.  Following the release of the first episode in September 2022, the podcast, available on Youtube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, has amassed thousands of views and is looking to expand into other areas of Westminster student life such as visual arts and theater.  

While WCAT’s growth is evident through its foray into new mediums, the leaders of the club say some of the biggest improvements have been made behind the scenes. Senior Gideon Zemedhun, WCAT’s Technical Director, explained that the club has certainly experienced growing pains integrating new technology. 

“All new things never work,” said Zemedhun.

After lots of hard work, however, he felt proud of how the team has learned to incorporate the equipment into broadcasts. From cameras to replay technology, almost all of WCAT’s equipment has been updated over the past year and has already been implemented into their football broadcasts. Every Friday, a crew of at least twenty students flock to the WCAT room and start setting up equipment for the football game. It takes the combined effort of each of those volunteers to put on a three-hour show that includes a pregame show, sports report, game coverage, postgame interviews, and more, for the thousands of live viewers and hundreds more who watch on demand. The new equipment has provided Zemendhun and his team with more camera angles, a quicker replay tool, and an easier way to switch between live shots and graphics for the football broadcasts. Even when football season ends, WCAT will continue to use this equipment in broadcasts for all sports. Chlopek and Zemedhun plan on producing larger broadcasts for other sports at Westminster, including volleyball, basketball, and soccer, in order to give more Wildcat athletes the attention they deserve.  

Looking to the future, WCAT shows no signs of slowing down.  In the coming years, the club will relocate into a brand-new studio as a part of Westminster’s renovation on Scott Hall.  Daniel Searl, the faculty head of WCAT, expressed excitement about being included in the new innovation building, an exciting opportunity he believes will enhance news production and create even more hands-on experiences for students. 

Contrary to popular opinion, WCAT’s expansion isn’t limited to just the upper school; in fact, the club now attracts Wildcats of all ages. The Middle School division of WCAT produces a monthly news show filmed, anchored, and edited entirely by middle schoolers. Upper School WCAT members even hold a weekly ASK! class where they teach Lower School students broadcasting skills. WCAT has always focused on maintaining a sense of community between all its members, many of whom express their appreciation for WCAT not only exposing them to new activities but also to new people. 

Within the Upper School, every broadcast features volunteers from all four grades, and the time spent before “action” and after “cut” provides those students opportunities to form meaningful connections they wouldn’t typically make in the classroom.  Both Chlopek and Zemedhun have seen the WCAT room transform from a quiet classroom into a prime hangout spot, always bustling with students picking up cameras, scavenging for donuts, or laughing with friends.  

In a digital age, WCAT has thrived and continues to broaden their reach across a multitude of platforms including Youtube, TikTok, Twitter, and NFHS Network. With thousands of followers and loyal viewers, the past and current members of WCAT have paved the road for success. In fact, many members look forward to a bright future for WCAT.

“I hope it stays true to what it is,” said Chlopek.

At its core, WCAT is a club run by students for the students. The club’s goal has always been to produce content that displays the various talents of the Wildcats. Whether home or away, hot or cold, rain or shine, WCAT sets up their cameras, turns on their mics, and brings the energy, creating content for Wildcats everywhere to enjoy.  

Edited by Eva Bevington

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