Hilton students use podcast to drive American Heart Association fundraiser

By on November 25, 2019
Hilton High School seniors (l-r) Ana Rivera, Jack DiBitetto and Austin Holley raised over $1,000 for the American Heart Association through their podcast, Everything Geek.

Hilton High School seniors (l-r) Ana Rivera, Jack DiBitetto and Austin Holley raised over $1,000 for the American Heart Association through their podcast, Everything Geek.

Hilton High School seniors Jack DiBitetto, Ana Rivera and Austin Holley are self-proclaimed geeks. In fact, Jack created his own podcast “Everything Geek” nearly two years ago and asked his friends Ana and Austin 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,” he said. The students talk about everything from animation and comic books to movies and TV shows.

“The podcast is something we all enjoy doing,” said Austin. “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,” remembered Jack. “I looked out my window and saw police and ambulance lights flashing.” Ethan’s dad, Phil DeGrandis, passed away from a cardiac event. “He wasn’t even 50 and gone so quickly,” said Jack. “We wanted to do something to help, not just sit by.”

DeGrandis was not only the DiBitetto’s next door neighbor, but helped the students set up the equipment for the podcast in Jack’s basement and even 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,” said Austin. “So we created the fundraiser in his dad’s honor.”

The podcast went live on Charity Livestream on November 9 at 5:30 p.m. and within three hours and 24 minutes the students raised over $1,000 through the charity portal Tiltafy. “Our parents and friends help spread the word through social media and even sent the link abroad,” said Ana.

Jack is in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and is able to use the fundraiser as part of the 150-hour requirement for the Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) class. After graduation, Jack is interested in heading to film school. Ana plans to study immigration and familial law. And Austin is headed to St. Bonaventure University to play lacrosse and study broadcast journalism.

Viewers can subscribe to the Everything Geek Podcast on YouTube.

Student podcast 2

Hilton High School seniors (l-r) Ana Rivera, Austin Holley and Jack DiBitetto live stream their podcast out of Jack’s basement.

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