Radio student named EVIT Student of the Year
Posted on 05/23/2016
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Joey Liberatore was named EVIT Student of the Year during the 2016 East Valley Institute of Technology Completion and Awards Ceremony at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Joey was one of 1,544 students at EVIT’s centralized campuses who received credentials Friday night for completing their career and technical education programs.

 Joey, a senior at Perry High School in the Chandler Unified School District, completed the Radio/Audio Production program, where he maintained a 4.0 GPA for two years and became a regular broadcaster on 88.7FM The Pulse, EVIT’s student-operated radio station. Steve Grosz called Joey “a star student who represents EVIT and the radio program very well.”

 Joey became involved in the EVIT radio program after an injury ended his participation in baseball. He discovered that by being a broadcaster he could still pursue his passion for sports.

 In his junior year, Joey started hosting a sports radio show called The Sports Mafia on The Pulse. He also obtained an internship reporting high school football games on AZ Sports 98.7FM. Later that year, he worked with the Chicago Cubs as a spring training play-by-play announcer on, and then last July served as the announcer of the Chicago Cubs AA Baseball Club. Joey and his Sports Show co-host won the state gold medal in audio/radio production and scored among the highest in the country at the national SkillsUSA championships.

 Joey’s senior year at EVIT has been even more amazing: Color and play by play for high school football games, play-by-play announcer for the Division III High School Championship Football Game alongside former NFL Quarterback Dan Manucci, and a recap and preview show for the national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. Joey also worked as a color commentator for high school basketball games and play-by-play announcer for high school softball and baseball championship games. He has continued his work with the Chicago Cubs in spring training, and was hired as the official media director for the St. Louis Cardinals AA Baseball Club where he will be doing play by play from June through August.

 Joey was heavily recruited by Alabama to attend college there, but decided to take advantage of a $20,000 scholarship to attend Arizona State University’s Cronkite School this fall.

 Joey was among six finalists who Superintendent Dr. Sally Downey interviewed before making her choice for EVIT Student of the Year.  The other finalists included:

  • Morgan Binnie, a Medical Assistant program completer and senior at Mesa’s Red Mountain High School.
  • Destiney Hernandez, a Nursing Assistant program completer and senior at Gilbert district’s Desert Ridge High School.
  • Kelsey Nelson, a Cosmetology program completer and senior at Combs High School.
  • Sierra Richards, a Culinary Arts program completer and senior at Mesa’s Skyline High School.
  • Albert Vargas, a student in the Human Anatomy & Physiology for Medical Careers program and senior at Mesa High School.

 Downey said Joey has shown not only that he has the skills to succeed in the broadcasting industry, but also the resilience and persistence to overcome obstacles and take charge of his education and career.

 “With all of the incredible kids we have at EVIT, it’s extraordinary that just one would be named Student of the Year, but in Joey’s case, it’s very appropriate,” Downey said. “Joey is just extra focused, competent and mature. I can’t wait to see what he does in the future.”

 During the Completion Ceremony, Joey told his 2016 EVIT classmates that each of them has his or her own personal story of what they’ve overcome and why they came to EVIT. Now, he added, it’s up to them to take the skills they’ve learned and become successful in their chosen careers and life.

 About 9,000 people attended this year’s EVIT Completion and Awards Ceremony at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The Class of 2016 earned over $2.5 million in scholarships and hundreds of professional licenses and certifications. Many of the students will test for additional industry credentials over the next year.

 Students at EVIT’s centralized Mesa campuses – the Dr. A. Keith Crandell (Main) Campus, 1601 W. Main Street, and the East Campus, 6625 S. Power Road – spend a half-day at their home school for academic classes and a half-day at EVIT for career training.

 EVIT students have a 96 percent high school graduation rate, two out of three go on to college, and 87 percent are in jobs, college or the military within one year of completing their training.

 More information:

EVIT does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or sexual orientation in its programs or activities. CTE program offerings include: Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications; Auto & Transportation Services; Construction Technologies; Culinary Arts & Hospitality; Education; Engineering; Health Sciences; Human Services; Information Technology; Manufacturing Trades; and Public Safety. For a full listing of programs, go to The lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in EVIT CTE programs. The following employees have been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Title IX/Title VII/EEOC Coordinator, EVIT Superintendent, 1601 W. Main St., Mesa, AZ 85201 or call (480) 461-4000, or by email at; Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Tony Niccum, STEPS, 1601 W. Main St., Mesa, AZ 85201, or call (480) 461-4154 or by email

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