Sandpoint On Disk

High School class goes digital to make CD-ROM

by Michael Delucchi
Copyright 1996 © Sandpoint Magazine

To all but a computer hacker, the idea of creating a CD-ROM to capture the beauty of the Sandpoint area with music, photography and videos seems too complicated to contemplate.

But the complexities of such a big project didn't stop four students at Clark Fork High School. Last spring, these teens produced the first interactive CD-ROM showcasing the Sandpoint area.

And they did such a good job the economic development group Sandpoint Unlimited is using the CD in its campaign to woo businesses to locate here.

A CD-ROM is a compact disc for the computer. CD-ROMs are similar to music CDs, but they contain video, audio, graphics and text that are displayed on a computer screen. The viewer can "interact" with the CD by starting, stopping and changing directions in the display with their computer mouse.

The idea for a Sandpoint CD-ROM originated in the entrepreneurial business class of teacher Brian Powell at Clark Fork High. His class covers such standard fare as general business concepts.

But additionally, "Every year we try to do some kind of 'hands-on' project," Powell said. "With limited funding, we have to decide on something that will gain financial support of some kind."

Four students, Raeleen Culcasi, Jason Stevens, Michelle Mellem and Donella Pratt, focused on two aspects when deciding to undertake the CD: utilizing the computer technology required, and making it valuable to the community. They agreed it was intensive.

But, Jason said, "nothing could be better than seeing your work in use."

Powell approached Sandpoint Unlimited Executive Director Ann Kritzeck about creating a CD-ROM that could be used as a tool in business recruitment. Kritzeck traveled to Clark Fork High to view the program and observe the students' capabilities. "I was very impressed," Kritzeck said.

Curt Hecker, president of Panhandle State Bank and a Sandpoint Unlimited past president, liked the idea too, and approved a $1,000 donation from the bank. "It was a great opportunity for both students and businesses to work together," Hecker said.

In organizing the CD-ROM's content, the students tried to determine what kinds of information would be useful for someone thinking about starting or relocating their business in Sandpoint.

Such people might like a video of Sandpoint containing footage of Schweitzer, Lake Pend Oreille and the downtown. They might be captured by Sandpoint's beauty and recreational attractions, but want more information than just images. Using the interactive abilities of the CD-ROM, the same beautiful video footage could be viewed, yet with the "click" of a button, the viewer could switch to a "mini-tour" of the business community. One more "click" and they're off to the "Lost in the 50s" car show, with pictures and music.

These are just some of the ideas the students incorporated into their CD.

Sandpoint Unlimited is pleased with the powerful new recruitment tool they have. Moreover, the project's promoters point out the value of just carrying out such a successful project.

"The real profit," said Hecker, "comes from the fact that schools and business were able to work together on a project that benefits our community and the education of our students." ·

For a copy of the Sandpoint CD-ROM, call Sandpoint Unlimited at 208/263-0545.

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