Jack Yates school of communications celebrates 40 years, prepares for new media program

HOUSTON – It's out with the old and in with the new as the Jack Yates School of Communications prepares for a major media makeover.

The school of communications is turning 40 in September, the same month when the brand new Yates High School will open. 

PHOTOS: Jack Yates HS Media Day

During a media day on Monday, students and staff showed off some of the new equipment they'll take with them to the new state-of-the-art building. 

The hope is to restore the school of communications to its former flagship status. 

The Yates SOC is the oldest media continuing education and magnet program in HISD. Yates Photography was established in 1950, with the Broadcast and Print Journalism components starting in 1978. 

The school of communications has inspired generations of students for four decades.

“It gets you out of your comfort zone. If you're shy, it makes you come out of your shell. You have no choice but to be outgoing in the communications program,” said Christian Wilson, a senior at Jack Yates High School.

Much of the current equipment is much older than these graduating seniors.

“Right now, we're working with some things we've made by hand, on YouTube and found ways to make work,” said Tyrone Dargins, the TV and film production instructor.

The school has recently upgraded to state-of-the-art radio and podcasting equipment and a new iMac lab. They're even working on professional grade editing equipment...

“No other high school in the country has that system. We have it,” Ted Irving said, the school's magnet coordinator. “A brand new TV studio, radio broadcasting studio, as well as a music production studio.”

“The kids coming after us will have a better chance and get a leg up in the real world,” Zytiek Harrison, a senior at Jack Yates High School, said. “The equipment that we have now, and what we're going to receive in the new building, places the Yates SOC back to its proper position as a flagship in media.”

It’s the start of a new chapter -- for one of Houston’s most historic high schools.

“I'm very excited, not only for myself, but for the students,” Dargins said.

The brand new Yates High School will open this fall.

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