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Overlook Middle School Students Record PSA in MWCC Studio

College student sitting in front of the mixing board with three middle school students behind him
(left to right) Caryna Cotto, Nola Patty, Lucas McEvoy, Overlook Middle School students. Seated at the console: Karim Hamza, MWCC audio engineering student.

Students from Overlook Middle School in Ashburnham volunteered their time to record a Public Service Announcement (PSA) that targets their peers about the misconception and misinformation about drugs and alcohol. The 30-second radio spot airs on WXLO 104.5 in April, May, and June 2018. According to Veronika Patty, the Gardner Community Action Team Coordinator for LUK, Inc., the PSA, titled Now I Know, is part of a marketing campaign in which students warn their peers about the dangers, misconceptions and misinformation around drugs and alcohol. In addition to the radio ad, campaign posters will be displayed at Gardner Cinemas, at local schools, and around the community.

Overlook Middle School Students Provide the Voice Talent

The PSA was recorded in the Media Arts & Technology Department at Mount Wachusett Community College. Professor John Little, chair of the Media Arts & Technology Department, supported the project on behalf of the college. “Of course [the Overlook Middle School students] didn’t know quite what to expect, and they were excited and a little nervous,” he recalled. “First, we brought them to the performance studio where they would be recording and then we showed them the control room. While each student read their script in the performance studio and listened for direction, the remaining students in the control room could watch on a large video screen. When they discovered that they could be heard by the performer while our talk-back mic was open, the subtle cheering and giggly encouragement started. It soothed nerves and made it fun for everyone involved,” he said.

MWCC College Students Provide the Sound Engineering

“A week later, the college students were instrumental in a group effort that produced the final result. MWCC audio students included several siren sounds and added a police radio sound featured at the end. They suggested dialog panning so each voice comes from variations of left and right, and chose to stack all voices to be in unison for three particular words. Even the folks who read the script wouldn’t know that for those words, we electronically moved — slowed down or sped up — each syllable in voices two though five, to perfectly match the timing of voice one,” said Little.

A Welcoming Environment

“Both Professor Little and the MWCC students were extremely accommodating and helpful during this process. They created a great, fun, and welcoming environment for everyone involved. The Overlook Middle School students loved the experience,” said Patty. Patty explained that Luk’s GCAT (Gardner Community Action Team) has a long history of collaborating with Mount Wachusett Community College, including offering presentations and trainings and hosting and supporting special events. She added, “This was a tremendous opportunity for the students. We are looking forward to future projects!”

About Mount Wachusett Community College

Established in 1963, Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) provides affordable access to higher education for residents of the 29 cities and towns of north central Massachusetts. Offering over 70 associate degrees and certificate programs in fields from healthcare and STEM sciences to the arts, education, and business, MWCC is committed to preparing students to advance toward their career and educational goals. Dedicated to advancing higher-education opportunities in its communities, MWCC offers free classes in Adult Basic Education (ABE), high school equivalency preparation (HiSET, formerly GED), and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). MWCC has four locations, with campuses in Leominster and Devens, two sites in Fitchburg, MA, and a main campus in Gardner, MA. MWCC is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Inc., a non-governmental, nationally recognized organization whose affiliated institutions include elementary schools through collegiate institutions offering post-graduate instruction. For more information or to speak to an Admissions counselor, please call 978-630-9110 or visit

About Gardner Community Action Team

The Gardner Community Action Team (GCAT) is a coalition comprised of residents, business owners, public officials, city employees, youth and parents, and stake holders, all of whom come together to improve the community’s health status and prevent underage substance use in the city of Gardner. Coalition members work to educate the community on reducing underage drinking, reducing prescription medication misuse, and reducing tobacco use among youth. We do so by offering trainings and educational events as well as facilitating direct programs at Gardner schools. For more information about the campaign, visit