Throughout the past few years, Freeman has become more and more technologically savvy. We’ve moved our morning announcements from a closed circuit broadcast to a live broadcast on YouTube, introduced iPads which allow students to write on the projector screen, and now we’re getting a digital marquee.
Henrico County used to prohibit schools from putting digital marquees on their front lawn in order to inform the public of upcoming events as they said it would be a distraction to drivers.
“I think we literally asked [for a digital marquee] every year and every year they said, ‘you know I can understand why you think it’s a good idea, but no,’” said Director of Activities, Suzanne Criswell.
But now, due to a recent rule change, Freeman, along with several other schools across the county, is finally getting its wish.
Currently, the marquee can only display two events at once, usually an upcoming athletic event on one side and a PTSA event on the other. However, with a digital marquee, the possibilities of advertising events around the school are endless. “With a digital sign, we can advertise the play, tonight’s choral concert, we can advertise tonight’s volleyball game, [or] whatever else may be going on all in a roll of information that can go on that digital board all day long,” exclaimed Mrs. Criswell.
But the amount of events Freeman will be able to advertise is only one positive aspect of the new board. A traditional marquee must be changed by hand, requiring someone to carefully place each letter in it’s correct slot, and must be updated constantly to keep up with school events, creating a lot of work.
With a traditional marquee, there is also little room for creativity to effectively advertise school events and make them pop in a driver’s mind.
The new marquee, however, will be relatively easy to update and personalize.
“We can change the background color, we can change the text color and text font, we can do all kinds of graphic type things on the board . . . I can be at home, go on an app, and [the event] is up on the board,” said Mrs. Criswell.
The question of who will be updating the board is still in debate. Mrs. Criswell believes that she will be doing the majority of creating and putting up advertisements, but that Mr. Marshall and possibly a few others will also be able to update the board.
With the opportunity to advertise more events than ever before, the Freeman community is sure to be updated on what’s going on at the school.
“I’m really excited about the possibilities and being able to advertise everything that goes on here,” said Mrs. Criswell.