Tag Archives: ” Staples HS Media Lab

“Good Morning” Goodbye

Staples High School teachers Jim Honeycutt and Mike Zito invented the school’s Media Lab.

From their funky studios near the cafeteria, the duo taught thousands of students — and oversaw WWPT-FM, the Staples Television Network, a recording studio and much more.

“Good Morning Staples” is one small part of what they’ve done. But since its first broadcast in 2001, the thrice-weekly TV show has had an outsized influence on the school.

Yesterday’s “Good Morning Staples” broadcast was the last of the school year — and their last ever. Both Honeycutt and Zito retire this month.

The 24-minute video offers just a tiny sampling of the work their kids did. It’s a tribute to Staples students’ spectacular energy, dedication, talent and energy.

Which, of course, was unlocked, nurtured and nourished by 2 very special teachers.

Repairs’ Reprieve

Generations of Westporters know Jim Honeycutt as a teacher — 1st of social studies, then computer education, now running Staples’ Media Lab audio and TV production classes.

Occasionally he alludes to his old rock ‘n’ roll days.  Now — in cyberspace, which he and his students are so wired into — there’s proof.

Honeycutt has created a podcast about Repairs, his folk/rock/country band of the late 1960’s and early ’70s.  He did it to demo an assignment he gave his Audio Production class:  Make a podcast about your favorite album.

Honeycutt’s podcast (click here to listen) offers a fascinating insight into the music industry, back in the day.  Repairs formed at Fairfield University, where Honeycutt and Peter McCann met through a freshman week orientation talent show.  Gradually, other talented musicians — including Honeycutt’s soon-to-be 1st wife, a Manhattanville College student — joined the group.

Their mostly original music featured tight harmonies.  It was wide-ranging, eclectic, sometimes even psychedelic.  Think a combination of Buffalo Springfield, Loggins and Messina, the Pozo Seco Singers, Jefferson Airplane and the Association (if you can).

Repairs was “discovered” in 1971, on Westport’s Jesup Green.  They were playing there — the podcast does not explain why — and in the audience was Andrew Loog Oldham.  The podcast doesn’t say why the producer of the Rolling Stones was at Jesup Green either, but he liked what he heard.  He signed Repairs to a contract with Rare Earth Records — a subsidiary of Motown — and in 1971 the label released the group’s 1st album, “Already a Household Word.”

The cover of Repairs' 1st album. Jim Honeycutt is at far left, wearing sandals.

It was not a huge commercial success, Honeycutt says in the podcast.  It did well in Westport, however — for a few weeks outselling the Beatles at Klein’s Department Store — and in parts of  Europe too.

Two more Repairs albums followed.  Neither achieved much acclaim, and eventually the band broke up.

Nearly 4 decades later, Repairs has found new life — in Staples’ Media Lab, on iTunes and throughout cyberspace.

They may yet become “a household word.”