During moments of insomnia, it is not uncommon for me to flip on RBTV for some quality viewing. It may be repeats of old programs or newly done programs. The fact they were quality-produced made them better and many of those students under the direction of longtime RBTV head Gary Prokes went on the work in the field. 

My association with Prokes began a number of years ago when our son Michael was in a class of his. Later, due to my role as a newspaper columnist, he put together a program with a student producer and, thus, “Koffee with Kosey” was born. 

One student was so excited he even ordered mugs saying “Koffee with Kosey,” and we’d give one to each guest. Students helped book guests and put the show together. For many students, it gave them a chance to expand themselves. 

I was always amazed when in the studio how diligently the students worked, asking the occasional question to Mr. Prokes. They had found their place much as some students found themselves in the gym. Mr. Prokes was their mentor. 

While serving as president of the Riverside Brookfield Educational Foundation, we were searching for ideas to raise funds for our grants. It was then that Gary Prokes approached us with the idea of a telethon. And so, the first RB Telethon was created and it was a success over the years. 

All members of the school board admitted there would be no Telethon without Gary. He secured the technical people, programmed the show and was there all day in the booth. Prokes even brought back former students who had continued on in broadcasting field in some way, either in production or education. 

Prokes encouraged students to submit their projects to local and national competitions, with many students walking away with plaques and trophies. The Landmark recently had pictures of winners from recent competitions. 

Over the years I have become friends with Gary, discussing everything from antiques to TV. Now that he’s retired, getting time to sit and talk with him will be welcome. 

Thanks Gary, you have left your mark on RB and the students you taught there.