Hilton High School senior Jack DiBitetto created a podcast, “Everything Geek,” nearly two years ago, and asked his friends Ana Rivera and Austin Holley to co-host.
“I figured people may be interested in what I have to say and that I have something of value to bring to the table,” DiBitetto said.
The students talk about everything from animation and comic books to movies and TV shows.
“The podcast is something we all enjoy doing,” Holley said. “It’s a social thing and connects us.”
Most recently, the students decided to use their podcast to promote a fundraiser for the American Heart Association. The decision was a personal one.
“Last summer just before school started, I got a text from my friend Ethan asking me to pray for his dad,” DiBitetto said. “I looked out my window, and saw police and ambulance lights flashing.”
Ethan’s dad, Phil DeGrandis, died from a cardiac event.
“He wasn’t even 50 and gone so quickly,” DiBitetto said. “We wanted to do something to help, not just sit by.”
DeGrandis, DiBitetto’s next-door neighbor, helped the students set up their equipment and gave them posters to hang behind their desk.
“We are all good friends with Ethan and knew that we could reach a lot of people through our podcast, so we created the fundraiser in his dad’s honor,” Holley said.
The podcast went live on Charity Livestream; within three hours and 24 minutes the students raised over $1,000 through the charity portal, Tiltafy.
“Our parents and friends helped spread the word through social media and even sent the link abroad,” Rivera said.
DiBitetto is using the fundraiser as part of the 150-hour requirement for his creativity, activity and service class. After graduation, he is interested in heading to film school. Rivera plans to study immigration and familial law, and Holley is headed to St. Bonaventure University to play lacrosse and study broadcast journalism.
Viewers can subscribe to the “Everything Geek” podcast on YouTube.