What exactly is a high-school "audiovisual club"?

I’ve seen references to this concept here & there in popular culture. I know that the Onion named their entertainment magazine “The AV Club”. I know that D’Arcy Wretzky was in one (at least if you believe the Simpsons.) I know they’ve got a reputation for attracting somewhat nerdy members. But what exactly is a high-school “audiovisual club”? What activities is the club supposed to be centered around? In practice, what do the members do? And do they still exist in today’s high schools?

I don’t know exactly what they do now, but back in my day, the A/V club was the students who were entrusted to handle the film and slide projectors, the PA system in the auditorium, etc. If a teacher wanted to run a filmstrip but didn’t want to be stuck by the projector for the entire program, he could tap into the A/V club and get a trained, trusted student to take care of it while the teacher stayed in the front of the room or whatever.

I imagine computers and whiteboards have made a lot of that irrelevant, but there’s still a PA (excuse me, audio) and other stuff around that the school doesn’t want the average untrained freshman to get near.

AV club members get hall passes in return for carting film projectors and such around to the various classrooms when needed.

Basically, what kunilou said. Geeks and nerds who liked playing around with equipment. This has morphed into “Video Productions” at our school. This is a good thing, because they actually get to make stuff with all the equipment now, instead of just running it.

When I was but a lad, the AV geeks also set up and handled the sound system for the cheerleaders at football games. They had to be nice to you, otherwise they would find themselves silenced in public. If the cheerleaders talk to you regularly, the jocks tend to leave you alone. This is a win-win.

IME they really don’t exist anymore, most teachers have projectors in their rooms permanently and it’s not too much of a hassle to wheel out the projector once a year, the other duties an AV Club used to do have been mostly taken over by things like “Stage Crew” and “Tech Crew” who set up all the audio and lighting for auditorium events (band concerts, drama plays, etc).

Way back when I was a Jr. & Sr. at Proviso Township H.S. in Maywood the Audio- Visual Club ran the movie projectors and sound systems for other classes instead of going tp study hall providing your grades were up to standards.
Things may have changed since then.
BTW Made N.H.S. sans study hall.

At my high school we didn’t have “Hall passes,” so I guess that’s why we had no A/V club. No benefits!

Don’t they have to be in class, though? I never understood this, when I was watching “Freaks and Geeks,” how they were able to spend so much time in AV club.

This was middle school, not high school, for me. If you were known as technically inclined, you were asked if you wanted to be an A/V kid. If so, then they had a couple “training” sessions where you learned how to work projectors and such. Then they gave you a card with your name written on it certifying you.

In high school, there was no official such system, but the kids who did A/V in grade school just continued in the position automatically. Also had more interesting gear and the older students taught the younger ones how to run that.

It wasn’t an official club, but still the usual group of geeks, nerds, wonks and twerps. Since we had keys to various interesting parts of school, we could do certain things on the sly. E.g., we started an “underground” school newspaper. Bought our own paper and ditto masters but needed to sneak in to print the sheets in a back room in the library.

Wow, it’s hard to remember, but there used to be a time when there were no computers on this planet. So where did the geeky nerds go to talk about expensive technical stuff?–that’s right, they joined the “AV club”.

Back in the 60’s-70’s, a film-strip machine, or better yet, an 8-mm reel-to-reel projector was super-high tech. And expensive. Just like your grandparents today can’t really understand how to use a computer, LOTS of teachers couldnt figure out how to run a movie projector. Often, the film broke, the reels would suddenly go haywire running at high speed, or the focus didnt work, or the sound was uncontrollably loud.
But there was always a kid with glasses and good grades who knew how to fix the problem. Plus, he (and it was always a he, not a she) got the truly great honor of being allowed to push the cart back down the hallway and then to enter the sacred “AV room”.

in other words, collaborators who have sold out to The Man in exchange for a few crumbs of liberty and status!

Exactly. Working on the school paper provided the same benefits, but no abject toadying was required, plus there were more opportunities for subversion.

In my junior high school, the A/V club equipment also ran the school’s TV studio, where some educational programming was recorded for distribution on the local cable service’s educational access channel.

I believe some schools allowed you to take A/V club as one of your daily classes for credit. So you’d get to spend a whole class session there. Also, they could be hanging out after school.

And did they really get underground copies of things like Monty Python’s Holy Grail? Or was Freaks and Geeks lying to me again?

When I was in 7th grade there was no club just people, (always guys) would run the AV equipment. I was in charge of the Bell & Howell film strip projector and the reel to reel tape recorder.

I don’t know. But it sounds plausible.

My high school didn’t have an official “AV Club” but we had a number of students who were qualified to run the light and sound systems for the auditorium and theater. We were definitely nerds. Very much into science and mechanics and as such held high enough grades that skipping classes wasn’t a problem.

Our group had the added advantage that hall passes didn’t exist so we could very easily convince one teacher that another teacher needed us somewhere else. Each of us had keys to get us into the auditorium loft area.

We scheduled our poker games infrequently and were smart enough not to blab to other students what we were doing. I probably skipped more classes than all but the worst students and never got called on it.

We didn’t have Monty Python, just a stack of nudie mags under the light console.

There were students who thought that we “sold out to the man”. We referred to those students as “chumps who have to sit through English class” :stuck_out_tongue:

This is the case at all the high schools I’ve worked at.

In my own HS days, back in the late 70s and early 80s, us “cool” kids were all rock star musicians, or so we thought.:smiley:
We insisted on setting up all the lights and equipment for ourselves as well as any other event at the school. Unlike the present nerd stereotype, we were the envy of many and quite popular.
I don’t think we were called the “AV club” or anything though, we did it to learn how to set up and use all the lights, equipment, and technology…and to look cool doing it!:smiley:

Oh and missing a …ahem…a few classes was alright too.

If someone had their hands one one, they needed to come to us to watch it! We had the equipment, and knew how to use it.

In my school, we were the folks who got called out of a class, to go to another, to repair or configure equipment for the teachers. We filmed various events, such as school plays (we had a 3 camera system, with A/V mixing board/director station, with wired headsets between director & camera operators).

It lead to a few good jobs for me while I was in high school. I ran the PA system for Town Meetings (at $25 per night), I filmed the football games (at $25/game), and I worked repairing the Apple IIe systems in the “media center” (read library), at $5/hr during my study halls, and after school, as I cared to work it. This was back in the 1984-88 time frame, so that was good money for a part time student job.

I’m an IT guy now, so one could say that I started my career in high school on those IIe computers. My first computer training class was paid for by the school, and I got to travel… on a train… into Boston (Lived 35 miles away on the North Shore)… by MYSELF (at 14), for a class where 90% of the attendees were over 30 (or seemed that way).

At my recent 20 year reunion, not many folks were surprised that I was an IT guy now. :cool:

AHA! Now I get it…COMPUTERS! We didn’t have computers running anything back then.

Sooo…that’s where it went from a “cool” rockstar/roadie gig to a nerd club.

Geez, my high school dream job was replaced by a computer long before I even realized it!
Good thing I got into University ;o)