Local high school granted $1,000 from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and Chase Bank


YUMA — Gila Ridge High School and Film and TV Production teacher James Kuzniak were recently chosen to receive a “Play Ball” grant award in the amount of $1,000 from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and Chase Bank.
The winners of the award were invited to select two representatives from the Film and TV program to participate in a special pregame ceremony at Chase Field on Tuesday, Sept. 19.
Accepting the award on behalf of Kuzniak were two Film and TV alums and current Arizona State University students Bryanda Lara and Octavio Garcia-Ramirez, both from the GRHS graduating class of 2021. Lara and Garcia-Ramirez were both completers of the two-year Film and TV Production program as well passing the Technical Skills Assessment that is given to all Career & Technical Education students at the end of their second year.
“Being a part of Mr. Kuzniak’s class and CTE in general really helped prepare me for college and being out in the world as an adult,” Lara said. “Getting to take a class that allowed me to be so hands-on while working many extracurricular events really helped me transition to life in Tempe and I am very thankful for it.”
Kuzniak added: “As a teacher it is always a great honor to be selected for grants that will have an immediate impact on our classroom and more importantly our students. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Chase Bank are amazing at helping local schools and community organizations with their generous donations. The D-Backs ‘Give Back’ program always lives up to their name in giving back to the community and I am very thankful.
“Having two of our former students accept the award and be recognized on the field, while having them shown on the stadium jumbotron is such a surreal feeling. It speaks to the impact that we can have on our students lives, even after they move on to bigger and better things.”
Film and TV Production is a two-year program that focuses on all aspects of video editing and production while allowing students to learn the key aspects of editing while using Adobe Premiere Pro, Live News Broadcasts with industry level BlackMagic production switchers, as well as covering and live streaming after school athletics contests and other events such as the school’s annual commencement ceremonies that can reach thousands of viewers. The program is available at Gila Ridge and San Luis High School.