INDIANAPOLIS — After 18 years as a photojournalist at TV stations across the Midwest, including WRTV, Dennis Goins said he was ready for a change.
"I was in Salt Lake City covering the winter Olympics in 2002 and I was miserable," Goins said. "I called my wife and I said it's time."
Goins grew up in Rushville, Indiana. He received All-State honors in football and basketball and went on to play college basketball at Vincennes University and Southern Illinois University —Carbondale. He later went on to graduate from Ball State University
After graduation, Goins became an award-winning photojournalist. He covered everything from the Sydney, Australia Olympics to Hurricane Andrew.
"It's funny how the Lord took me in a circle, got me together, and brought me back to my first love," Goins said.
Goins said he always had a dream to be a teacher and a coach.
It was at that time, 20 years ago, that he found out Ben Davis High School was looking for someone to create a curriculum and teach students broadcast and production skills.
"It's kind of remarkable to think you know we've been here for 20 years and how many people you've had a chance to, as I say, be the difference in their life," Goins said.
The pictures on the wall are a visual reminder everyday of the success stories.
Goins has students working across the country in film and media, including me. I am a 2008 alumni of the BDTV program. The skills I learned in BDTV are skills I still use today. I credit Mr. Goins for sparking my interest in this field and inspiring me to be a journalist.
"You are an example of what BDTV can be for somebody. To think about what you were doing in 2008 versus where you are now, it's a blessing. It gives me chills because you know your labor is not in vain, because I see the result so that will keep me going for another five or 10 years," Goins said.
BDTV is a part of the Area 31 Career Center located at Ben Davis High School. In addition to Ben Davis, students from at least 10 other nearby schools can earn dual credits, while learning skills for a wide range of careers.
"They come into this class and this is a safe environment in which they can take risks, they can fail, they can get up, they can wipe their shoes off, and we're gonna get back to work," Goins said.
He said during the pandemic, it was difficult for students to produce content when the school was shut down. It was also an especially difficult time in his personal life after losing his brother and mother, but he said the students kept him pushing forward because they didn't give up.
"If anything these last two years have revitalized me and reminded me why I do it. It also gave me some joy in seeing the kids being resilient," Goins said.
In the 18 years he spent as a photojournalist, he said he never had the opportunity to be the difference-maker in young people's lives like he does at BDTV.
"That part of it has been the most rewarding," Goins said.