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Jack Yates High School gets plenty of recognition because of its nationally-ranked boys basketball program. But academically, Yates has a unique hidden secret, and it’s a one-of-a-kind communication program.

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As 39 News found out on Tuesday, May 18, the hands-on experience students are receiving will last them a lifetime.

“The magnet program, school of communications here at Jack Yates, was formed a little over 30 years ago,” said Tracey Lewis, an associate principal, who also works closely with students in the magnet school of communication.

The communication program focuses on four areas: journalism, photography, television and radio production.

“Your 11th and 12th grade year, that’s your set course,” said Reandrea Sprigds, a Yates senior, who’s interested in pursuing a career as a TV reporter/anchor. “You choose which one you like the most. But your 9th and 10th grade year, you’re taking all of the classes.”

“Some of the graduates from this program have gone on and had a major impact in the world of television and radio,” said Lewis. “Roland Martin (a CNN contributor based in Chicago) for instance.”

Just how unique is the communication program at Yates?

“We are the only communication magnet program in the Houston Independent School District,” said Lewis.

The Houston Rockets donated an anchor set to give students a taste of what show business is all about.

“Our kids do television shows on a weekly basis, where they invite other classes to come in and observe,” said Lewis.

“This is an asset to me,” Sprigds said. “I can use this going to college.”

High school students doing internships … that’s normal thanks to the magnet school of communication program.

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