Drew Miller’s voice can be heard on Bald Eagle Area High School sports broadcasts. He sometimes does the play-by-play with his dad, Steve Miller.
It’s experience he might not have gotten if it wasn’t for an organization that benefits the district.
The senior is one of a few students who make the Eagle Ambassadors YouTube channel a reality.
Classmate Mackenzie Basalla does interviews with BEA alumni, and Dylan Bathurst is the tech guy. Other students do similar tasks.
“They have an interest and stepped up to volunteer their time, and are doing a great job at it,” said Karen Urbanik, Eagle Ambassadors president. “We wanted to engage students with what we do. … We were struggling with putting the Eagle Ambassadors name in front of the younger students, because eventually we hope they come back and make donations.”
Internet videos are the newest facet for the organization.
The Eagle Ambassadors YouTube channel regularly shows two Web series: updates on current events, and the Bald Eagle Experience Series as hourlong features on BEA history.
Eagle Ambassadors was founded in 2003 as a nonprofit organization made up of BEA alumni and community members whose mission is to raise money to support the district and to “help close the gap left in state funding,” Urbanik said.
Urbanik and a board of 10 others engage the community and alumni in fundraising efforts, securing grants and supporting districtwide learning initiatives. It’s also responsible for connecting alumni and planning class events.
In the 2013-14 school year, Eagle Ambassadors raised more than $35,000 for district programs — up from about $4,000 in 2009-10, according to a report from Urbanik.
In the past two years, Eagle Ambassadors have received $11,500 in grants, said board member Rose Hoover, BEA administrative assistant and district webmaster.
One of its largest contributions comes from the educational improvement tax credit program, which allows the business community to get involved in local education. In its third year, Eagle Ambassadors annually allocates the EITC funds to support nine district programs, Urbanik said.
Those programs are Agriculture Science, Botball Educational Robotics/Technical Team, Eco-Pond and Environmental Learning Center, Envirothon, Elementary Spanish program, Full-Option Science System, Inspiring Mathematics, Mathletes and Penpals.
In 2013-14, $12,583 was given to the district through the EITC program.
“We’re at a disadvantage because we’re not in a big city with a lot of businesses, but we’ll take any dollar we can get,” Urbanik said.
She said Eagle Ambassadors’ largest chunk of change went toward new computers and iPads for the Tech Team and Envirothon, which cost about $10,000.
“We are doing something. It took us a while to get started, but we made our mark.” Hoover said.