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Pieces of high school history

Johnson has transferred dozens of tapes to DVDs; FDSH events from ’80s, ’90s available at New Age Media

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Joel Johnson, owner of New Age Media Productions, holds various VHS tapes from Fort Dodge Senior High events. Johnson has converted the tapes to DVDs. The DVDs are available for purchase at New Age Media.

Many people have memories of special moments during their high school years such as a homecoming, dance or graduation.

But not everyone has those memories on DVD. That’s where Joel Johnson, owner of New Age Media Productions, comes in.

Over the course of the past year and a half, Johnson has amassed a collection of VHS tapes from various Fort Dodge Senior High events from the 1980s and 1990s.

Much of that collection was given to him by the late Jon Vessey, who taught English at FDSH and advised the radio club and video technology from 1979 to 2009. Vessey operated a part-time business called Personal Memories Video.

Vessey passed away in March of 2021. He was 69.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Joel Johnson, owner of New Age Media Productions, poses with VHS tapes at his business on Friday. Johnson has converted dozens of tapes of Fort Dodge Senior High events to DVD format.

“I’ve got homecomings, dances, graduations, senior highlight videos and more,” Johnson said.

Johnson, who has been in business in Fort Dodge since 2016, said he has tapes from the ’80s to late ’90s and even some from the early 2000s.

Then, a couple of months ago, Janet Altemeier, the wife of the late Keith Altemeier, handed off audio cassettes of the Fort Dodge Civic Glee Club to Johnson.

Keith Altemeier was the light technician for the Fort Dodge Civic Glee Club for 30 years. He passed away in 2012. He was 81≥

Johnson has since transferred the VHS tapes he got from Vessey to DVDs and the audio tapes from Altemeier to CDs.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
VHS tapes of a 2001 Fort Dodge Senior High graduation highlight video and 1986 FDSH commencement are shown on a shelf at New Age Media Productions.

He feels honored to be able to preserve the videos and have them converted to a more modern form of technology.

“It is a piece of high school history for many people,” Johnson said. “And instead of them just sitting on the shelf, I would love to get them to the class members and have them reminisce and relive those moments because I’m sure with many of the classes, there are friends and classmates that have passed away already and they would potentially be on those videos. And with the audio, I think it’s the same. It will bring back memories for them being in music with Mr. Altemeier and how much fun they had.”

The DVDs and CDs sell for $15 each.

“I would love to be able to get these to people that would appreciate having a copy of them,” Johnson said. “Maybe it was their graduating year and they didn’t get a copy.”

At New Age Media, Johnson can transfer any VHS tape to DVD.

“We transfer tape-based media (VHS), audio, audio cassettes, LPS, reel-to-reel audio and photo slides and negatives to a current usable medium,” Johnson said. “It makes a great holiday gift or anytime gift and perfect for history preservation.”

Anyone who is interested in a DVD or CD can call New Age Media Productions at 515-227-5448 or stop in to the business, located at 1026 Central Ave.

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